The East

Accidental empire/178/Roman Expansion/2142 In Hispania rome was forced to fight a long drawout battle to gain control of the whole peninsula. In the meantime, in the East Rome defeated Macedonia and Greece and advanced across Anatolia (modern Turkey) absorbing quite rapidly the North Western part of what had been Alexanders empire. Macedon, Greece, Rhodes, Pergamon, Bithnia, Pontus, Judah, Syria and Egypt were all remnants of the Empire of Alexander the Great. These were not tribes, they were Hellenic city states, some of which had progressed to nationhood.

They all took part in the Olypmic games in which the pleasure of competing was accompanied by a desire to demonstrate superiority.
They all had the belief that they were the rightful successors of Alexander and therefore in competition with each other. The Egyptians also believed they were the rightful successors of the Pharohs and the Syrians (Sassanids) believed they were the rightful successors to the Persians. A dangerous mix. Intermarriage, diplomacy, intrigue and treachery were all used as weapons in their struggle to achieve superiority.

Though part of this Hellenic world Judah was very different. In Judah, Alexander was perceived as evil, perhaps the embodiment of the devil.

Greek Culture

Accidental empire/178/Homer/2143 After the wars with Carthage,once the Romans had found themselves catapulted into Hellenistic politics their tactic was to become Greeks, to become yet another successor to Alexander and therefore an equal competitor for Alexander’s Empire. In Rome, the patricians spoke Greek at home because it is a far more subtle language than Latin. A tradition developed whereby Rome saw themselves as not only successors to Alexander but inheritors of Greek Culture.
To the Hellenistic states the concept of a King or Emporer as the owner of a state was familiar and acceptable. Though a republic Rome accepted this and Client Kings were not only accepted but encouraged.
Gradually many of the Hellenistic states came to believe that Rome was the rightful leader of their extended family. Some had to be “pursuaded” to give up their independence but the kings of Pergamon, Bythnia and Egypt all bequeathed their nations to Roman rule.

There were other nations who did not accept Roman intrusion. Pontus, Parthia, successor to the Persians and Judah, all gave great resistance to Roman expansion. Parthia, over time had the better of its never ending conflicts with Rome which were often fought over the territory of the unfortunate Armenians. Three famous Parthian victories were over Mark Anthony, Crassus who was killed in battle and much later Valerian , who was captured and spent the rest of his life as a slave.


Accidental empire/178/caesarae/2144  Perhaps the most obvious example of a client king was the Herodian family in Judah. Not able to find a suitably compliant candidate from amongst the Maccabe rulers, Rome, specifically Mark Anthony, invented a new royal family gave them a suitable genealogical background and arranged marriages to justify their appointment. King Herod’s building programme symbolised the centralisation of wealth, the harbour at Caesarae, the palaces at Herodium and Masado the city of Tiberius all masterpices of the application of roman technology but clearly designed to provide status and prestige for the king.

Two Empires

Accidental empire/178/gallic village/2145 In the West it was totally different. There were no grand edifices for the high kings. The Romans came to recognise that the Celts, though they had leaders of each tribe and these leaders competed for the title of “High King” the lands and resources belonged to the people and the kings represented the people rather than owned the people. It was a very familiar concept to Romans. At least initially they willingly accommodated the Celtic culture. The Celtic tribes’ concept of a High King , someone who represented the interest of all celts was one of the major triggers for inter clan rivalry and conflict. It was a position of great prestige rather than power but the competition to attain this position was fierce and was often but not always resolved by war

Accidental empire/178/eastern and western empires/2148 Thus Rome found itself with two empires.The Romans devised different strategies, laws and administrations for these two empires. Their govenors, generals and eventually their emperors came to specialise in one zone or the other. The dividing line between these two empires was somewhere in Illyria ( modern Croatia but before the Slavic invasions) so it is not surprising that the Illyrians found the strategies and initiatives particularly difficult to understand.

The empire was split again and again into east and west; between Caesar and Pompey, Octavian and Mark Anthony, Marcus Aurialus and Lucius Verus and more permanently after Diocletion’s reforms. These arrangements were not simply to ease communication over a huge area but to accomodate the different needs and expections of the two halves of the empire.

Not only was the Empire subdivided but a tradition of rivalry between east and west was quickly established

Holy of Holies

Accidental empire/178/Holy of holies/2152 Pompey  distinguished himself by victories over Quintus Sertorius in Hispania, followed up by defeating the Pirates who plagued the Eastern Mediterraneum. He then defeated Mithridates of Pontus, Antochius of Syria and Aristobulus of Judea .
Whilst in Jerusalem he forced his way into the holy of holies. this act in itself guaranteed continuing resistance to Roman Rule.


High Kings/179/cleopatra/1761 In the meantime Caesar had become powerful himself, building a large army for his conquest of Gaul. He marched his army on Rome despite the fact that Pompey had been appointed sole consul and had forbidden him to do so. Pompey lost his nerve, fled from Rome to Greece and despite having the larger army, was defeated at Pharsalus, fled again to Egypt and was there murdered by Romans in the service of Ptolemy XIII.

Pompey’s two sons and the survivors of Pompeys legions made their way back to Hispania where in 45 BC, as he knew he must do, Caesar finally defeated them and established his superiority.
Briefly Caesar became dictator of Rome. He also met and married Cleopatra, Egypt’s queen and she gave him a son.

He was assasinated in 44 BC because the senate identified that he now represented the interests of the both the Celtic world and Egypt not the interests of the Patrician families.

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.