The infighting between members of what was to become the Church of Rome and other Christians in both Rome and Alexandria could hardly be called persecution but it certainly attracted the attention of the emperors.

According to Roman church records there were mass executions by Nero. I was taught at school that he lit his garden with human torches. Tacitus writing at least fifty years later agreed that the punishment of christians was “extreme.” However Suetonius writing earlier than Tacitus including the punishment of christians in one sentence with measures taken to discipline charioteers and the banning of Pantomimes from the central city area. In any case there are problems of veracity with both these histories as we only know of their content through copies made in the eleventh century and the copies were made by monks affiliated to the Church of Rome.


In the year 177 there was a very specific persecution of christians in Vienne which was in the Rhone valley. The events surrounding this persecution are captured in a very moving narrative from the Christian brethren comprising churches established at Lyons and Vienne. Commonly referred to as “The Epistle of the Gallican Churches”, the letter was sent to the churches of the mother country in Asia and Phrygia where there were strong, established connections and a synonymous Greek heritage.

The text was preserved for posterity by Eusebius of Caesarea in his Church History. It has been described as “the fullest description of early Christian martyrs”, and accordingly provides an excellent backdrop for examining and understanding the testimony and witness of suffering and martyrdom, which has application for the ongoing suffering of Christ’s church and its people.

However in 177 the Rhone valley was almost certainly a stronghold of the Cathar faith, not the Church of Rome. Marcus Aurelius  almost certainly had nothing to do with this. His writings show him to be a man of wide religious tolerance. There were no church leaders, bishops or even priests who suffered the persecution, and the ” Epistle of the Gallician churches” was addressed  not to Rome but to central Anatolia, where the alternate faith was also strong.

The Church of Rome subsequently claimed these martyrs as its own but they were in fact Cathars persecuted at the whim of a local governor with at least the compliance of the Church of Rome.


In January of AD 250  the emperor Decius demanded that all inhabitants of the empire should make a sacrifice to the ancestral gods. It is uncertain wether Decius intended to flush out Christians by this demand, but that is certainly the effect it had. Severe penalties were specified for those who did not comply. Pope Fabian was reportedly executed for refusing to make the sacrifice but many other christians, even bishops complied.


In AD 303 the Emperor Diocletian repeated the decree of Decius but applied it more forcibly. The persecution lasted over ten years and it was this persecution which inflicted the most damage to the christian community. The persecution was confined to the eastern provinces and was eventually ended by Constantine. A group known as the “Donatists” would not accept anyone who had made the sacrifice back into the church. Constantine eventually sided with the Donatists. This piece of information comes without any information comes to us without any comment on how it affected his relationship with the mainstream Church of Rome, who’s numbers presumably included large numbers who had sacrificed to the ancient gods.

Their is no doubt that members of the Church of Rome suffered at various times during the Roman Empire. Perhaps it was because of this that The church learned to be Ruthless in its elimination of any who had beliefs which were different to their own dogma.

Cathars, Celtic Christians, Orthodox Christians, Jews and dozens of minor sects were all targetted and opposition crushed using whatever force was necessary.

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.