Feudal Anarchy


Chivalry/9/Church and State/1233 The Pope of the time developed the concept of right to rule. He maintained that Roman Emperor Constantine the Great had given the Popes of Rome the right to the temporal rule of the Western Empire. This was ultimately supported by documentation known as the “Donation of Constantine” (which much later was proved to be one of the greatest forgeries and therefore frauds, of all time). Nevertheless the Pope used this concept to intervene and appoint the untrustworthy devious, murderous, teenage leader of the Frankish tribe to be his Magister Militarum. A cursory examination of the titles chosen for the new Church of Rome hierachy shows that it was the Church itself which was intended to provide the civil governance. The leader of the Franks was called Clovis and the Dynasty he founded the Merovingians. There are many legends about why the Pope, chose Clovis, but it was really because he permitted the Church of Rome to adopt, at least in the short term, the role it had assigned to itself - to become the spiritual and temporal ruler of the Western Empire. Clovis became the classic Client King. His job was simply to use his ruthless political and military skills to eliminate the opposition, which he did, with brutal efficiency.In the 14th Century it is extremely doubtful whether Europeans identified themselves with any particular nation. They might see themselves as Gascon, Breton or Angevin, perhaps even as Béarnaise, Armagnac, Savoyard or Provencale but not as French Or Occitan. The formation of the state of Aragon, the Scottish declaration of independence and the Frankish invasion of the lands of Occitan all signaled the end of feudalism. In Occitan the extermination of the local counts and their replacement with northerners, a complete contradiction of feudalism, raised great resentment.  It took nearly the whole of the 14thcentury for the concept of nationhood to be understood and applied and not everyone embraced the concept: particularly not the inhabitants of Occitan.

Negotiating rights

initial-marcher-territories The feudal system, as introduced by Clovis, relied on the oath of allegiance. Of course allegiances can be changed. Even before Clovis conquest and certainly in the negotiations during the conquest itself the Comtes whose property  lay close to borders were taught an important lesson.They learned that though they were exposed to risk of attack across the border they also had the ability to change their allegiance and therefore were able to negotiate either side of the border for advantageous terms.

The Marcher Territories

clovis-conquest Clovis’ conquerst did not remove the border areas. By his failure to fully conquor either the Alamans or the Burgundians, plus the interfaces created with Gascon, Breton and Visigothic lands Clovis had created an Empire which had literally thousands of miles of border territories. These became known as marcher territories.

Frankish Inheritance

at-clovis-death The Franks had a tradition of dividing all property equally amongst children. Also traditionally their leader had been acclaimed by popular vote. Clovis, probably influenced by the Church of Rome; who would have disliked the uncertainty of a popular vote, appointed his sons as rulers but subdivided the Kingdom between them.  This was not peaceful co-existence. They warred with each other.

Shifting Boundaries

treaty-of-andelot  Another set of marcher territories was produced and another set of landowners were introduced to the concept of shifting allegiances and negotiating beneficial terms. And so it progressed, each generation produced a new subdivision of the realm and a greater and greater proportion of the Comtes and Barons learned the personal benefit of shifting alliances.

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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.