Fact? or Interpretation?

Accidental empire/178/Out of Rome/2135 In following through the factors which influenced Ximene’s thinking  and the way she lived her life, consideration of Concepts of Nobility, the origins of the Cathar  and Christian Churches,  the question of wether Occitan was ever an independent state and the phenomenon of the Sangreal were all investigated. All lead back to the time when the western world was dominated by the Roman Empire. What the Roman Empire actually was is a rather different matter. Remember that there are opinions ( See History of History) that everything we know about classical civilisations was invented by monks in scriptoria in the middle ages, to suit the political and theological initiatives they wished to propagate.

From a multitude of ancient ruins, we know about the Roman technology and their ability to build,. We know the names of the rulers from coins and fragmentary historical records. However we know little with certainty, about the politics and structure or even the timeline of of the empire.

Too much of our knowledge is based on the fragmentary reprints of a limited number of classical documents all of which are copies produced in the notorious scriptoria giving limitless opportunities for “modifying” history to conform with the politically and theological correctness of the early middle ages.

Even in mainstream history vastly different interpretations are not only possible but necessary to reconcile apparently contradictory information.

The Aeneid

Accidental empire/178/Judgement of paris/2137 According to the Aeneid the Roman story commences with the judgement of Paris. Paris was the son of  Trojan king Priam and is asked by Zeus to decide who is the most beautiful of the three goddesses; Hera(Roman Juno), Athena (Roman Minerva) and Aphrodyte (Roman Venus) .

To ask a mortal to make a judgement on the relative beauty of three goddesses was undoubtably a poisoned chalice. Paris chose Aphrodyte, mother of his cousin Aeneas, as the most beautiful and thereby brought the hatred of the Goddess Hera down on the Trojans.

Aeneus was the son of Prince Anchises and the Goddess Aphrodyte. Anchises was the second cousin of King Priam of Troy and as a Trojan hero he is mentioned in Homer’s Iliad.

Aphrodyte, as a measure of her appreciation  of Paris’ judgement gave him the affection of most beautify woman in the world.  His woman was Helen of Sparta, wife of Meneleus. Paris then abducted Helen and took her to Troy. Hera used this as an opportunity to encourage and assist the Greeks to attack and destroy Troy.

As well as featuring in the Iliad Aeneus appears in the Aeneid by Virgil, Ab Urbe Condita by Livy, Roman Antiquities by Dionysus and Origines by Rato , According to the Roman versions, Aeneus escaped the sack of troy and after numerous adventures  landed in Italy. Rome claimed that Aeneus was the ancestor of Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. It also meant that leading roman patrician families were descended from “the gods”

The Sabine Women

Accidental empire/178/sabine women/2136 Rome’s expansion began, according to its own foundation traditions (more myths?) within the lifetime of it’s founder Romulus. The justification for the expansion was that the founders needed wives.

They seized by force women belonging to the neighbouring Sabine tribe but during the subsequent war the women interceded and achieved a peace settlement. The names of the original thirty patrician families was based on the names of thirty of the Sabine women.

Whether this version of events is fact or an early example of pseudo history is less important than the fact that it was enshrined in the Roman mentality.  This founding myth, building on and adding to the earlier stories of Helen’s abduction to Troy legitimised the conquest of other peoples and the abduction of women.

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.