Octavian’s triumph


Octavian/181/actium/1792 Figure 1 The battle of Actium. Octavian defeats Anthony and Cleopatra.When Octavian declared war on Anthony, it was all or nothing. In the agreement with Anothony he had acquired the whole of the celtic territories wheras Antony had acquired the east. Octavian had done nothing to demonstrate his suitability as “high king” and it was known that the commander of his army was Vispanius Agrippa. In the meantime despite reverses in battle with the Parthians, Antony had captured Armenia, forcing Parthia to the east and establishing a valuable buffer state.Octavian, again using Aggrippa as his commander in the field attacked Anthony in Greece  and defeated him in a sea battle at Actium.   His success however, if anything, emphasised the differences between east and west.

Three empires

Octavian/181/three empires/1790 Fig 2 Hellenic,(Fawn) Celtic (Red) and Rebublican(Green) empires.Thus Rome found itself with three empires. In the West, where the peoples of the empire were predominantly Celtic, the High King was a personal not institutional position. In the east the various client kings were the main instruments of the state. The role of the emperor was one of educating, cajoling and occasionally disciplining the kings into compliance. In the middle was the old Roman Republic, still responding to the senate, not the emperor. The dividing line between these three empires was somewhere in Illyria so it is not surprising that the Illyrians found the strategies and initiatives most difficult to understand. Gradually the Hellenistic states came to believe that the Emperor of Rome was the rightful leader of their extended family.  Some had to be “pursuaded” to give up their independance but the kings of both Pergamon and Bythnia,at their death bequeathed their nation to Roman rule.  In the West is was, from the very beginning, very different.

The Celtic Initiative

Octavian/181/in hispania/1785 Fig 3 Octavian's capture of Cantabria( North- West Hispania) showing Octavian's personal command (yellow)It is  no coincidence that Celtic assimilation with Rome and the acceptance of Roman Government improved from the point at which in 27 BC Octavian became Augustus, the sole ruler, Emperor of Rome. In theory there was no longer confusion about who was High King and wether the High King had earned his status. However in Celtic eyes any new emperor had to prove himself as High King. The Celts had waited and watched. The Hispanic Celts soon got to know Octavian well.  He had served with Julius Caesar in Southern Hispania, but now he proved himself beyond doubt.  In 26 BC  he led the Romans in the Cantabrian war as a result of which the Romans finally controlled the whole of the Spanish Peninsula.It was breathtaking in its scope using co-ordinated attacks on land and by sea. His prize was the mines of Cantabria; Las Medulas , rich in gold and the basque coast rich in Iron.

Revolt in Gaul

. Octavian/181/revolts/1796 Fig 4 Revolt of the Mordini ( Pas de Calais) And the Aquitani(Bordeaux and Les Landes)Octavian was, initially however, not well known in Gaul.  in Consequence on the northern side of the Pyrenees between BC 27 and BC 13, six legions were permanently occupied dealing with non stop revolts in Gaul. Two of the major conflicts were with the Morini and the Aquitani. Historians generally have blamed the widespread convicts as a by product of the imposition of roman taxation but it is also possible that the Gauls were testing Octavian. In the end Octavian did what his experience in Hispania told him he must do. In BC 16 he took personal charge of the pacification of Gaul

The Three Gauls

Octavian/181/three gauls/1797 Fig 5 Gallia Belgica ( top right) Gallia Lugdunumensis and Gallia AquitaniaThe Celts behaved like spoilt children, demanding attention and when they did not get it collectively stamping their feet. There was a low level revolt in BC 12 again triggered by a census and the realisation that the main purpose of the census was to formalise the raising of taxes. Octavian dealt with this not by force of arms but by the creation of the Sanctuary of the Three Gauls. .

The Temple

Octavian/181/temple of three gauls/1787 Fig 6 The temple of the Three Gauls.This was not simply a temple ( to the Gaulish god Lugh, God of the sun and equated with the roman god Sol Invictus and with Octavian himself. The altar was inscribed with the names of every Gaulish tribe and inaugural priest was a Gaul. Thus Gaul and the celtic tribes were given a special position in the Roman Empire. Octavian’s step sons Tiberius and Drusus were present during the inauguration.  Drusus’ wife Antonia gave birth to their son, Claudius in Lugdinium (today’s Lyon) on the same day as the inauguration..

The first Comes

Octavian/181/administration/1798 Fig 7 The shift of power for provincial appointments. the first ComesOctavian then went on to alter the structure of the legions. Up to this point in time legions had been raised by Govenors, to meet the needs of specific campaigns or even by rich patricians.  Legions had a life of their own and once raised they were rarely disbanded and their allegiances were difficult to control. Octavian reduced the number of  from 50 to 28.  In AD 9 after three legions were destroyed in a germanic ambush in the Teutoburg forest  they were never replaced, thereby reducing the number of Legions to 25. The role of Nobiles Comitas may have existed in some previous format but it was during the reign of Augustus that they were often given the role of commanding a Legion and of legatus.  The continued to use the same titles but become became known as the emperors appointees . In military matters in allprovinces outside Italy and Africa the govenors were sidelined.


Octavian/181/drusus in germany/1784 Fig 8 Drusus in GermanyDespite Octavian’s success the Celts were never totally comfortable with the situation in which the Emperor chose his successor without reference to the people and without the demonstrating his military strength. If a son or even a daughter succeeded a father it would possibly have been acceptable to the Celts, but in Rome it was never that simple . Tiberius and Drusus were brothers, both supposedly step sons of Octavian. However there was a belief that Octavian was Drusus’ biological father. Drusus was born after his mother Livia Druscilla had divorced her first husband and married Octavian. Significantly Drusus preferred life in Gaul to life in Rome. He distinguished himself by consolidating the Rhine frontier. For the Celts Drusus became the only acceptable successor to Octavian. He died in a fall from a horse in 9BC and in the eyes of the Celts the succession should have passed to his son Germanicus.


Octavian/181/tiberius on the danube/1795 Fig 9 Tiberius on the DanubeWhen Octavian died in 14 AD he nominated Tiberius as Emporer and this was approved by the senate.   Tiberius had an excellent military record but his achievements were mainly in the east against the Parthians and on the Danube frontier against the “estern celts. He had a relatively low profile in Gaul and Hispania.


Octavian/181/caliga/1786 Fig 10 The Caliga hence CaligulaThe Rhine legions, now with a good representation of Celts in their ranks, objected to Tiberius appointment and called for their commander Germanicus, son of Drusus to be made Emporer.  Germanicus himself diffused the situation by leading his army across the Rhine, driving the many Germanic tribes back beyond the Elbe. This in turn made Germanicus a legend amongst the Gallic tribes and the pressure to make him Emperor increased. On his campaigns Germanicus was often accompanied by his son Gaius who became known as Caligula because of the minature copy of Caliga, the soldiers boot, which he wore.

Julius Sacrovir

. Octavian/181/death of drusus/1788 Fig 11 The Death of Germanicus by Nicholas Poussin.[/tab]Germanicus made his home at Augusta Teverorum, subsequently know as Trier. Tiberius recalled Germanicus from Gaul and sent him east, possibly to decrease his influence in the Celtic lands. In the east Germanicus made an unathorised visit to Egypt and shortly afterwards dismissed the Govenor of Syria. A short time afterwards in AD19 he died suddenly, in suspicious circumstances. Popular opinion was that Tiberius was implicated in the murder of Germanicus.  The result was another Gaulish revolt and whisperings of support from the Celts in Hispania. The leaders of this revolt included Julius Flores and Julius Sacrovir, Roman citizens. They were fighting against domination from Rome. They were defeated but achieved some of their of their aims.  The Treveri, the local gallic tribe based around Trier were given a measure of independance  including their own senate.  Other Celtic tribes watched with interest.

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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.