The Inheritance

The inheritance

In 441, The Hun’s finally invaded the Empire.  it is possible this was orchestrated from the east as yet another attempt to finally overrun the gallic empire and the celtic culture. They poured through the Allamanii lands and swept past the defences of the Franks and the Saxons.  Attila made it abundantly clear what he wanted.  The hand of the Empress Justa Grata Honoria and half the empire which he judged to be hers by right.

There were three separate groups who opposed the Huns. In the north there were still the remnants of the Constantine, Constans, Jovinus rebellion now co-ordinated by Aegidus.


Aegidus was possibly of Frankish extraction. He was elected King of the Franks when Childeric was accused of rape and remained so for eight years whilst Childeric was in exile outside the empire ( in Thuringia).  However he was thrust to one side when Childeric returned. Supporting Aegidus was Ambrosius and his brother Eutherius. The brothers were sons of Constans, therefore grandsons of Constantine III. The gallic empire continued.

The second group was the Roman empire itself. Flavius Aetius  was Magister Militorum. In the years before the Hunnic invasion he had used Huns not as Foederadatii  but as mercenaries to help control the Aegindus and as his own personal bodyguard. Richimar was the senior Comes. He was of  Sueve/Visigothic parentage but a second cousin to Emporer Valantinian III and the Empress Honoraria.Two other comes were Avitus and Majorian.

Comes Avitus was from Central Gaul But from a roman family. He had close ties with the Visigoths however having spent time as an ambassador to their court and it was he who convinced them to join the fight against the Huns. Avitus and Majorian both went on to become Emperor.

The third group was the Visigoths. They possibly had no concerns if the Huns attacked the Gallic Empire of the North but but not want the huns moving to the south.

There can be few better introductions to the subject of Attila  and the Empress Honoria than this 1954 Hollywood film. It was “historically inaccurate” as there is no history which records an actual meeting between Honoria and Attila. However Honoria vanished from the Roman record immediately after Attila’s second invasion of the Empire and Attila is supposed to have died of a heart attack during strenuous sexual activity a year later. Who knows? One version of the Geneology claimed by the Carolingian Kings of the Franks  shows that Honoria did have a child, Ellak and that the Carolingians were descended from that child.

 Catalunian Plain

When Attila invaded the roman defensive system worked well. Attila chose to ignore the fortified facilities and had reach a point half way between Orleans and Paris before he discovered that he was surrounded. He retreated rapidly but was now hampered by hit and run tactics by the Comitatenses, the Cavalry, who’s very name indicates that they were controlled by various Comes. Suffering continual losses Attila made a stand at the Catalunian Plain. The site of the battle was no accident of fate.  The romans chose to halt him there. Reims was one of the great intersections of Roman roads and South east of Reims is the point where the great Roman highway from Narbonne through Nemausus and Lugdunum joined the northern road network. This permitted the Visigoths, travelling quickly along well made roads, to take part in the battle.

Using the network of roads the Comitiatenses poured into the area, supported by all the local Limitanes who could get there in time.  It was on the outer edge of the Limitanes manned by the Franks. Another ten miles and Attila would have been safe.

Historians call it a tactical defeat for Attila. However much of the evidence suggests a resounding victory for the combined Romano gallic/visigothic forces. Most of the records of the battle have come to us through Frankish sources or sources under Frankish control. They would have wanted to describe the total collapse of the Roman Empire and the incompetance of its administration to justify their own grab for power. It just was not true. The Huns were surrounded by Comitiatenses both from the gallic and roman armies who used their archers to annihilate the huns with wave after wave of arrows. Then the cavalry moved in for the kill, heavy cavalry first to break resistance and then the light cavalry to mop up survivors. Attila was lucky he survived, most of his best troops did not.

Just for good measure Attila tried again the following year this time making a more easterly approach through Pannonia and striking direct for Rome. Again the defensive system worked, again Attila found himself surrounded.  This time he retired much more quickly and there was no definitive battle. He never tried again and died shortly afterwards.

The Comitiatenses and the Comes who controlled them gained much confidence and the battle tactics used were still in use in the hundred years war nearly one thousand years later.

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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.