THE DARK AGES

THE LAND WAS DIVIDED AND WITHOUT A KING
(CUE THE WAGNER)




(click here to Camelot-size)

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BOOK I: THE HISTORY OF BRITAIN

PREFACE
1, 2, 3

4, 5, 6
7, 8, 9


BOOK II: THE GROANS OF THE BRITONS


1, 2, 3
4, 5, 6
7, 8, 9

BOOK III: THE TWELVE BATTLES OF ARTHUR

1, 2, 3
4, 5, 6
7, 8, 9


BOOK IV: THE THREE COURTS OF ARTHUR

1, 2, 3
4, 5, 6
7, 8, 9

BOOK V: THE SPOILS OF CALVARY

1, 2, 3
4, 5, 6
7, 8, 9

BOOK VI: THE RUIN AND CONQUEST

1, 2, 3
4, 5, 6
7, 8, 9
THE EPISTLE OF PAUL AURELIAN

EPILOGUE

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Again?

The final time.


You've done this twice before...

And this will be the definitive version of the King Arthur saga which I wish to tell.


For people fresh to this concept, what's the premise of this retelling of Arthurian legend?

I purport that Paulinus Aurelianus, an (adopted) grandson of Arthur - a link I have fabricated for the purposes of this TL - decided to write about his family's history to counter Gildas's accusations of moral degeneracy, and that this account was unearthed many centuries later

My version of Arthur and his exploits is based on the idea that along with Ambrosius Aurelianus, there was a Romano-British war leader known as Arthur who marked one of the final periods of local resistance against Anglo-Saxon settlement somewhere around the turn of the 6th century, and that his actions have become transformed by legend to the figure we know nowadays.


What can first-time readers expect?

This will be an attempt to synthesise some of the early accounts of the pseudo-historical Ambrosius Aurelianus and "King" Arthur such as Gildas's On the Ruin and Conquest of Britain, Historia Brittonium, the Annales Cambrae, the Welsh Triads, several Welsh poems, and the various accounts of 6th-century saints' lives, along with William of Malmesbury's and Geoffrey of Monmouth's accounts of British history to a smaller extent.


So no Holy Grail, Lancelot, Camelot or...

I might include putative "origins" for some of these through passages ripe for misinterpretation, but nothing which outright contradicts the above sources. Things that get a first mention in Geoffrey of Monmouth or William of Malmesbury get a free pass, as it can be argued that things in this account "inspired" them (otherwise the plot would be very dry and boring).

There are certain passages inspired by Percival/Peredur and some version of Tristan and Isolde but feel free to ignore them if they suspend disbelief too much.


What can returning readers expect?

Even more consistent Latinisations, a much beefier narrative overall, and no or few mentions of figures not mentioned before Historia Regum Britanniae to give a better idea of how people writing in that time really understood/misunderstood history.


An advent TL?

From December 1st to Christmas Day, I'll have 25 days to deliver all 60 segments of this TL (minimum 3 at a time, because that's how it's structured), so you'll get an update practically every day.


Very well, let's get started!

Thanks, me. Want to weigh in, Arthur?

 
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Here we go! :cool:

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PAULINUS AURELIANUS

THE HISTORY OF

ARTURIUS AURELIANUS


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BOOK ONE


THE HISTORY


Icon of Paul Aurelian.


PREFACE

1. In receiving the writings of my colleague Gildas, I cannot help but notice that he regards history to be best used as the tool of the sermon – and such a sermon – and in so describing the affairs of Britain he criticises Constantine the soldier, last Roman Emperor in Britain, and Vortigern the proud usurper and inviter of the Saxon scourge and praises my ancestor Ambrosius Aurelianus whilst castigating his kin whom he has chosen to deliberately ignore and even condemn their memory (damnatio memoriae), cursing the inhabitants of Britain for their wickedness and sin which has brought this Saxon plague.


2. Whilst instructive as a parable for the moral ruin of these islands, I cannot forgive his omission of Arturius Aurelianus, last dux Britanniarum (Duke of the Britons) [1] worthy of the title, or of the role of his diverse and noble followers in the times leading to the Saxon rout at Mons Badonicus, which he dismisses as the final moment of peace in Britannia before his continued assaults against the moral character of its leaders and peoples.

Far from the end of British glory, this triumph of Arturius, for which he was made leader amongst the Britons, initiated twenty years of prosperity on the mainland without the interference of Saxon and Scots invaders, or of the barbarian Picts, and even in the times of troubles Arturius went above and beyond his duty in furnishing the needs of these so-called “stiff-necked and tired peoples” [2], delivering unto them respite from their troubles.


3. I thus seek to complete the tale of Arturius, through the recollections by my mother of her father Caius, companion of Arturius, as well as Guenhuamura, wife of Arturius, who came to reside in the same convent following the strife at Camlann. In the time after Caius’s death in Armorica during the campaign against Lucius Tiberius, Arturius adopted my mother as his own child, for my father, Perphirius, a chieftain of the Silures to whom Arturius was first foe then friend, was long since dead. Thus Rhelemona the daughter of Caius became one of the Aureliani [3], a bloodline which otherwise expired during the strife at Camlann where Arturius and Moderatus fell at each other’s hand.

If there are any further omissions or errors they are of the vagaries of time and memory; where these occur, I am forced to resort to referencing accounts of Gildas among other records, with adjustments to the veracity of his details. I submit my apologies where their combination is inadequate in completing our knowledge of these times.

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THE HISTORY

1. I trust that anyone who receives this has a perfectly coherent understanding of the location of Britain; nonetheless I shall still briefly describe our position with regards to the rest of the world. The island of Britain lies in the ocean north of Gaul and further north and east of Hispania, with Hibernia to the west and the lands of the Saxons to the east, along with those of the Goths. Even further to the east is the area known as Scandia, home to pagans more similar in their ways to the Goths than any other people on earth, but who are otherwise alien to the rest of the world.

To the north, near the lands of the Picts, natives of Caledonia, and the Scots, immigrated from Hibernia, are the Orcades Islands, which are for the most part uninhabited. Gildas calls the ocean in which Britain and Hibernia is embedded an “impassable barrier” save for the narrow strait which Portus Rutupi in Gaul faces; this, however, is not the case, as contact between Britain and that outcrop of land extending from Gaul called Armorica, or as it has come to be known, Britannia Minor, persists, and it was from Dunmonia that the companions of Arturius, three ship’s worth, set out to the Holy Land in Jerusalem in search of the sacrament [4].

Inasmuch as the territory once known by the Romans as Britannia Prima [5] remains the final stronghold of our peoples in Britain, so too is Britannia Minor in Gaul, where our peoples rallied under their great king and many others against the waves of Franks, a pagan people from Germania who seek to conquer Gaul as the Saxons already have subjugated Britain.


2. This island is a rich one, and dotted with numerous resources; the Thames (Tamesis) and Severn (Sabrina)feed water from the East and the West, nourishing our trees and our fields, and our hills and mountains brim with life, and from its stones we have drawn great riches, and with these riches its peoples have seen fit to till the ground, to mine the earth, to build upon the hills and the valleys, the shores and the inlands, from south to north all across the width and breadth of this island – even the far reaches, inaccessible to civilised men but where the pagan Picts have hewn their home from the rock and scrabble – many great cities and villas, eight and twenty in number at the last count [4].


3. Concerning the internal divisions of Britain: Following the conquests of Claudius Caesar and his successors, the Romans chose to divide Britain into several portions, whose troops commanded in their entirety by an officer they named the Dux Britanniarum, but few such dioceses exist in any meaningful way in these days, as the kings and tyrants of this island have instead chosen to mark off their own domains in the west.

Perhaps the only one of these which has been retained is that of the oldest divide between the inhabitants of this island. North of the wall of stone but south of the wall of mud and turf in Caledonia, the Votadini of Valentia [5] have remained the final bastion against the hordes of Picts to their north which have for time immemorial been enemies of the Britons under Roman rule. In these days the Scots, men from first Hispania then Hibernia, have invaded the lands of the Picts, and in their desperation these Picts have harassed the Britons to the south and killed them with death and put them to the sword and fire.

The kings in the west have seen fit to name that area lost to the Saxons, south and east of a line drawn between the Bays of the Humber (Umbrus) and of the Severn, (Sabrina) save for the [EDIT: peninsula] of Dunmonia, “Legionaria” [6], the land of the legions, for no laypeople of the Britains live there now, only soldiers. No trace of our civilisation has been retained except in small islands of resistance, but even then they are beset on all sides by the Saxon horde.


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[1] A Tetrarchy-era military title used to justify Arthur's description as dux bellorum in Historia Brittonium.
[2] A biblical phrase used by Gildas to describe the unenthusiastically religious people in Britain in De Excidio, which Paul Aurelian seems to have read.
[3] This lineage is entirely fictional on my part, but is my justification for connecting Paul Aurelian with Arthur and Ambrosius Aurelianus.
[4] The description of Britain owes much to Orosius and Gildas, and the bit about Scandinavia was supposed to hint at a Beowulf connection which didn't make it to the final draft.
[5] I've chosen to interpret Britannia Prima as covering modern-day Wales and Valentia with the territory north of Hadrian's Wall for this story; the "northern Arthur" interpretation will be seen here and there in this narrative.
[6] Read: Lloegyr/Logres. While we may never know the real situation on how the incoming Anglo-Saxons were interacting with the Britons, there are geographical discontinuities in undisputably Anglo-Saxon material culture, which could well represent holdouts of native Britons.


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Comments and feedback are welcome! :biggrin:
 
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Oh very nice. And one of those geographical discontinuities is in fact the local nexus of Crich/Penkridge which has retained Brythonic names for the settlements- a rarity for the area.
 
Oh very nice. And one of those geographical discontinuities is in fact the local nexus of Crich/Penkridge which has retained Brythonic names for the settlements- a rarity for the area.
Thanks! And I did not know that - thanks for the cool tidbit of information too. :biggrin:

Next update will be later today. :)
 
BOOK ONE

THE HISTORY


Coin of Constantine III, last Roman governor of Britain and brief usurper.


4. I shall not overly bore those who read this with the history of this island and its peoples, but perhaps a quick summary will suffice. In the times following the sack of Troy by the conquering heroes of Greece, Aeneas made his way through the sea until he reached Italy, where he established a new city which he named Alba. This city was the forbear of Rome. Brutus, one of the descendants of Aeneas in this fashion, was exiled from the city when he slew his father in the woods, and made his way to the lands of the Greeks.

When a vision was delivered unto him at an oracle that his destiny lay neither in Rome nor Greece but in the lands beyond even those of the Gauls, Brutus set forth on a journey with some Greeks, noting the irony of a descendant of Troy allying himself with the descendants of their persecutors, whereupon he circumnavigated these islands, and as Brutus had been first upon the prow when its gleaming shores came upon the horizon they named the island Britannia.


Remembering the prophetic vision which he had received, Brutus departed from his company, and in the built upon the banks of the Thames a new city which he named Trinovantum – New Troy – and it was the descendants of Brutus, these Trinovantes, whom Julius Caesar encountered once he had subdued all of Rome and forced it into homage unto himself, when he landed his troops on the shores of Britain, seeking to conquer it for Rome. [1]


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5. But it was not Julius Caesar who defeated them, as he was only able to force a prince of Trinovantes to pay homage unto him, but Claudius Caesar, the second emperor of the Romans who took steps upon these shores, who defeated these Britons and set up his own city, Camulodunum, upon the banks of the [EDIT: River Colonia].

The natives, superstitious and uneducated in the ways of the Lord, prostrated themselves in front of Claudius Caesar, declaring him a god greater than those of the hills and the streams and the skies they formerly worshipped. [2]

Thus all the inhabitants of this island swore unto Rome save the lioness of the North, whose allies stormed into the lands of the Romans, putting to death those men and women who had committed no sin save supporting Rome, and would have likewise put all Britain to the fire and sword had the legions of Rome not routed them in a single battle thereafter. [3]


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6. With the threat thus nullified, and the Picts subdued soon thereafter in another battle in the mountains far to the north [3], Rome turned Britain first into a single province, and then divided and subdivided it as it saw fit. And in those times the followers of Christ, so persecuted by Rome, arrived in Britain, and it was the king called Lucius who was the first to abandon the ways of the pagans and bathed in the light of the Lord.

Following the loss of an entire legion of Roman men to the Picts, the emperor Severus constructed first a wall of stone, and then a wall of turf, to safeguard against those barbarians. [4] Upon his death in Eboracum, his son Bassianus become emperor, and so passed an Edict granting citizenship to all freedmen in the empire, whereupon [EDIT: he] took up the names Marcus Aurelius, as those were the same names which Bassianus had adopted.

And after his death there was great strife in Rome, and many tyrants arose in many parts of the world, but especially in Britain, where a soldier called Carausius had seen fit to declare himself emperor, until he was defeated by Constantius the father of Constantine.

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7. And what has been said of Constantine which has not already been said before? Like Bassianus before him Constantine was declared emperor following the death of his father in Eboracum, and in these times before the rays of the Lord’s light finally bathed all of Rome a great many martyrs had been slain, such as Alban of Verulanium, and Aaron and Julius in Caer Leon, who had been killed by death and by fire and many other pains which their flesh inherited, but never renouncing their faith.

But it was at the battle against that usurper and tyrant who now resided in Rome that Constantine gazed into the light and it formed the symbol of Christ, and hearing a great and thunderous voice sound in the heavens, saying to him: “in this sign you shall conquer” (in hoc signo vinces), Constantine cast aside the pagan gods of Rome and swore unto the Word made Flesh, and painting this symbol upon his shields, destroyed his enemies upon the bridge separating himself and Rome.

And then he wrote the edict which finally ended the persecution of those preaching the ways of Christ, and as far afield as Britain, the followers of Christ rebuilt the monasteries which had been destroyed and began to preach once again, with no less zeal than before, but now no longer with the constant threat of death hanging over their heads.

But the tyrants and usurpers of Rome tried to reverse this edict after the death of Constantine, even going to the extent of entering conspiracy with the Picts and the Scots. For the first time the Saxon scourge reached the shores of Britain, as they had been invited by these usurpers to overthrow the rightful authorities of this island. But they were all foiled by the Count of all Britain [5], and it was not until after the reign of Maximus that Britain once again came under such threat.

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8. Maximus had been a soldier of this count, and in a dream he had seen Elen the daughter of Octavius, the son of Caradocus, chief among the tribes of Britain and the brother of Constanine through their mother Helena.[6]

He did not rest in his search until he was stationed in Britain, whereupon he came to the great fortress at Segontium and saw Elen playing upon the shores, and recognising her as the maiden from his dreams, he took her and proposed unto her father Octavius that they marry. Octavius consented, and Maximus soon sired children with Elen, three sons Publicus, Constantine and Victor, and two daughters, Gratiana and Severina.

But avarice and ambition entered the heart of Maximus, and in his reckoning he was not only heir to the rule of Britain, but he had also become the Emperor of Rome in Britain, and he gathered unto himself the soldiery and the governors of Britain, and told them to round up the flower of the youth of this island. He marched into Gaul, and deposed the rightful emperor Gratian, and was eventually recognised by the Emperor in Rome. But in truth the emperor was enraged, and he eventually turned on Maximus, decrying him as the murderer of Gratian. In this time Elen consulted with the bishops Martin and Ambrosius, and joined them in condemning him.

Of the sons of Maximus and Elen, Publicus and Constantine sided with their mother, leaving Victor alone in supporting their father; and of their daughters, Severina sided with Elen and was married to Vortigern, and Gratiana sided with Maximus, and in her life she bore unto the emperors of Rome yet more tyrants to plague them. [7] Elen and her loyal sons retired to Britain and rejoined her brothers Conan and Gideon, and Maximus marched upon Rome, declaring Victor emperor alongside himself.

But he was defeated, and although he begged for mercy from Rome, both father and son were executed on the orders of Rome. With the death of Maximus there was for an entire generation no king ruling Britain nor any judges to set its peoples to rights, and every man did what was right in their own eyes. [8]

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9. With Rome devoured in strife, usurpers arose in Britain and were deposed just as quickly. First among these was Marcus Artorius the soldier, a descendant of a freedman given citizenship by the Edict of Bassianus whose own descendants were adopted by the family of Lucius Artorius the centurion, in so doing gaining the cognomen of Aurelianus. [9] But the Britons were dissatisfied, and he was soon slain by Gracianus, another soldier.

Gracianus was in turn slain by Constantine the soldier. Whether this Constantine was the same as the son of Maximus and Elen no one knew for sure, but he never confirmed this rumour nor did he ever deny it, instead letting his name stand as a point of inspiration for these stiff-necked and tired peoples, claiming that like Constanine the son of Constantius he would return to Rome and restore its glory from these distant shores.

As Constantine had served alongside Marcus in the struggles of the past, he was enraged at the usurpation of Gracianus, and put to death all of those responsible for the death of Marcus, even adopting the sole son of Marcus as his own.

Like Maximus before him, Constantine gathered unto himself what remained of the soldiery and the youth of Britain, and headed into Gaul to declare himself emperor, dragging his son Constans from his monastery and demanding his support. And when he did this, his other son Julian revolted, and he allied with the Britons in putting to death the consuls and judges which Constantine the soldier and Constans had left in their absence, stating that the strength of Britain was best reserved for its own people. [10]

Whether there would have been war between father and son and between brothers as a result of the purges of Julian nobody knows, for soon like Maximus and Victor before them Constantine died alongside Constans his son in Gaul, and that was the last of Roman interference in the matters concerning Britain, despite our impassioned pleas to Rome in the years thereafter. But more on this later.

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[1] This is a slightly more realistic take on Geoffrey of Monmouth's Brutus of Troy, identifying his voyage to Britain with Pytheas instead. "Silvus" is just the Latin name for "woods" or "forest" so it's easy to see how Geoffrey would "misinterpret" the entire passage.
[2] Camulodunum will be important in the later passages ;), and Claudius was indeed worshipped as a god in Colchester, to quote the I, Claudius episode title.
[3] Tacitus's accounts of Boudica and Calgacus weren't rediscovered until much later, but Gildas does mention a "lioness of the north" which some writers identify with Boudica.
[4] Hadrian's Wall and the Antonine Wall weren't strongly identified with either Nerva-Antonine emperor, and of the whole period, only Septimius Severus and Bassianus (Caracalla) are identified by the Historia Brittonum, and indeed most of the rest of this book reflects its understanding of history.
[5] Theodosius the Elder, not identified by name in British sources (nor is the Great Conspiracy, for that matter.) Paul Aurelian is attempting to link Julian the Apostate with the Great Conspiracy, even if the dates don't match, but hey, who said he was objective?
[6] This is an adaptation of The Dream of Macsen Wledig, a Welsh fictionalisation of Magnus Maximus's life and career and makes him a British figure as opposed to an exclusively Roman one. Of Maximus's progeny, history only records Flavius Victor; Severina/Sevira is noted by a inscription on the "Vortigern stone". St. Ambrose (i.e. Ambrosius) is mentioned separately from Ambrosius Aurelianus in Historia Brittonum.
[7] Read: Petronius Maximus and the Anicii.
[8] Most chapters of the Book of Judges end with this phrase.
[9] My explanation of how you get "Artorius Aurelianus": Marcus Aurelius [INSERT NAME HERE]-> Marcus Artorius Aurelianus -> M. Artorius Aurelianus -> Artorius Aurelianus (we'll get into "Arturius" later.) Geoffrey of Monmouth identifies Ambrosius Aurelianus and Uther Pendragon as progeny of Constantine III, but I have it as them being sons of the Arotria clan which he adopted, resolving the name issue.
[10] The histories say this pretty much happened as an indigenous initiative, but I have my reasons for using Constantine's other son in this fashion.


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Next update: Ambrosius Aurelianus (and Myrddin?)
 
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Brilliant work. Looking forward to reading the rest. One point. You have Carausius deposed by Constantius? No room for Allectus in this universe?
 
Brilliant work. Looking forward to reading the rest. One point. You have Carausius deposed by Constantius? No room for Allectus in this universe?
You don't expect Paul Aurelian to have all the details right, do you? ;)

Nice start Tom, as ever. Wouldn't be that surprised if some of the various late 4th/early 5th century usurpers had family connections, or claimed them, or were later believed to have had them.
 
This continues to be excellent.
Thank you, sir. :)

Brilliant work. Looking forward to reading the rest. One point. You have Carausius deposed by Constantius? No room for Allectus in this universe?

You don't expect Paul Aurelian to have all the details right, do you? ;)

Nice start Tom, as ever. Wouldn't be that surprised if some of the various late 4th/early 5th century usurpers had family connections, or claimed them, or were later believed to have had them.

Carausius and Constantius get mentioned in Historia Brittonum and Historia Regum Britanniae, so they get name-dropped but not Allectus; the implication here is that Paul is working off a massively wonky history already, so this is the best he can manage.

Magnus Maximus is alleged to have been related to the Theodosi, and I struggle to find any Roman parents who would realistically name their kid "best of the best"; Constantine III was almost certainly of fairly common birth (although he notably still has a gens at this point of Roman history, which is more than can be said about Honorius and Arcadius, or even Theodosius, for that matter), but the coincidence in the hagiography of St. Elen was too good to pass up.

Vortigern's being the son-in-law of Magnus Maximus is alleged by an inscription known as the "Vortigern stone" identifying his wife as "Sevira".

If they keep murdering each other at this pace, the Angloosaxons won't have no one to kill.

One theory is that there was a massive population crash due to famine and intertribal war, and the Anglo-Saxon-Jute-Guys simply moved into a void; it would explain a lot about how and why indigenous British languages and genes got supplanted so utterly by the Englishmen.
 
Magnus Maximus is alleged to have been related to the Theodosi, and I struggle to find any Roman parents who would realistically name their kid "best of the best"; Constantine III was almost certainly of fairly common birth (although he notably still has a gens at this point of Roman history, which is more than can be said about Honorius and Arcadius, or even Theodosius, for that matter), but the coincidence in the hagiography of St. Elen was too good to pass up.

I've noticed myself that there's just enough historical evidence and just sufficient gaps in the record and just about the right sort of timeframe for some interesting conclusions in that period- e.g. Magnus Maximus being a descendant of Crispus (who's own son just vanishes from the historical record).
 
BOOK TWO

GROANS OF THE BRITONS


Engraving of the Eliseg Pillar, containing an inscription involving Vortigern and his wife "Sevira", daughter of Magnus Maximus.


1. In my previous writing I had said that Julian now ruled Britain, but in truth after some time, it was the kings of Britain that instead ruled Julian. He was not a soldier like Maximus his father but a priest like Constans his brother and was ill-learned in matters of state. Perhaps sensing the loss of the soldiery of the Britons, the Picts and the Scots in both Caledonia and Hibernia began to plague our cities in the north and the west once again.

So burdened was Julian that he sought counsel with the kings of Britain, appointing Artorius Constantine the son of Marcus the usurper and adoptive son of his own father – indeed, they were brothers, and closer brothers than Constans and Julian may ever have been – as leader of this council, and in the times Artorius Constantine acted as consul of Britain the law was right and just, for he was a principled and energetic man. He took a wife of great beauty and intelligence, who also donned the purple, and sired two sons with her, the first which he named Ambrosius, after the bishop, and the second which he named Artorius, after himself. But more on them later. [1]

Julian died, but not before taking a wife amongst the Britons and siring a son, Constantius. [2] If there ever was a more guileless man than Constantius the son of Julian, he has yet to be discovered, for truly Constantius was king of none save fools. Although Artorius Constantine remained as his consul for the time being, he was sidelined by the unclean lioness (Lea) of Damnonia the wife of Constantius, along with her conspirator Vortigern, the son of Vitalis, the grandson of Vitalinus, and son-in-law of Maximus the usurper through his wife Severina. If Gratiana the sister of Severina only ever whelped tyrants, Severina the sister of Gratiana delivered unto them liberators. But more on this later.

And so it was that in these times that Vortigern eventually usurped Artorius Constantine as consul, and dissatisfied even with this, put him to death, and Ambrosius and Artorius the sons of Artorius Constantine fled into Armorica to escape the plots of Lea and Vortigern. In the sixteenth year of the reign, if it can be called that, of Constantius the son of Julian, the groans of the Britons, beseeching help against the foreign raiders, reached the ears of Agitius, thrice consul of Rome by then, and were subsequently ignored. [3]

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2. In his desperation Vortigern appealed to the Saxons, who had recently arrived in three ship-loads and whose augurs and oracles had sent them here, and were exiles even amongst their own people. They were of a number of tribes, but let us save our efforts in describing these fierce and impious pagans, lest their race, offensive to both God and man alike, occupy more pages of history than they are truly worth.

But one of these tribes was indeed called the Saxons, and they were led by two chieftains named Hengist and Horsa, and Vortigern led the kings in inviting them, bribing them with whatever gold they had left, to make war upon their own countrymen as well as the Scots and Picts, and thus to serve as the foederati of Britain as their Germanic relatives currently did for Rome; indeed, Agitius, thrice consul when he ignored the groans of the Britons, was one of a number of generals born in Germania and of its stock.

From this single bitter seed the trees of iniquity grew, bearing fruit poisonous to all in the land. They sharpened their blades and at first slew the Scots and Picts, but before they turned on their own countrymen, they instead united themselves against the Britons, so weakened by the struggles of this generation and the ones before it, and demanded that they come forth and germinate further in this island.

And the first seed sown in this way was not in the belly of Britain but in that of the Saxon, for when Vortigern began to express his misgivings concerning the extents to which they demanded lands in return for their service, Hengist revealed unto him his daughter Rhenania [4], an unclean witch well-trained in the means of seduction and recently arrived on the sixteenth ship after these first three, and gazing upon her flesh, Satan entered the heart of Vortigern, and he cast aside his wife Severina and married her. In so doing he offended her children Vortimer and Catigern, and his sons took up arms against their father, even as Vortigern and his council surrendered the island to the Saxons, deposing Constantius, who retired to Damnonia, but not before siring a child and ensuring his evils persisted.

Though Vortigern was declared king in his stead, both Gildas and I, in our singular moment of agreement, say to let history condemn his memory save as the proud usurper, nameless outside of this account, for he was no true king but only a tyrant acting in the stead of the Saxons.

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3. Vortimer and Catigern, who had taken up arms to defend the honour of their mother, whom Vortigern had so impiously divorced, instead marrying Rhenania the daughter of Hengist in the Saxon fashion and in so doing had become an apostate, did battle four times with the Saxons as led by Hengist and Horsa. Horsa was slain in the same battle as Catigern, the third battle, and Hengist was slain in the same year of Vortigern’s own death. Vortigern died when he burned alive in his own fortress, although some time later there was a man so disfigured by fire that none recognised that man who wandered the land claiming to be Vortigern, who in so doing condemned himself to be helped by none. Before long, that man died too. But more on this later. [5]

Before the death of Vortigern in his tower, Hengist had upon the deaths of Horsa and Catigern demanded a council with Vortigern, saying that since he had lost his brother and Vortigern his sons, for Vortimer had died shortly after the fourth battle, there ought to be a period of mourning and thereafter a period where Briton and Saxon could feast together and put aside their differences, and come to a treaty whereupon both sides could lay down their arms peaceably. But under the pretence of ratifying the treaty, he had told his Saxon men that upon his utterance of the phrase “Nimed eure Saxes” that they would draw their long knives from their boots, and slay the Briton next to them. Thus it was that once the Britons were suitably inebriated, he suddenly vociferated “Nimed eure Saxes”, and each Saxon slew the Briton next to them, and soon three hundred councilmen lay dead on the floor of the great hall, having fully reaped the bitter fruit they themselves had sown.

Vortigern became a captive of Hengist, and purchased his freedom with yet more lands he was not fit to rule, much less to give as tribute, but this availed him not, and in the end, resisting every attempt by Germanus the saint to turn him back to the ways of Christ and do penance for the sins, hid along with his wife the daughter of Hengist and the abomination of a son which she had whelped with him, and all their attendants in this castle which he had built for himself. But given that he remained an apostate or, worse yet, had converted to a pagan worshipping the gods of the Saxons, it was inevitable that God itself would not suffer such insolence, opening the earth and the heavens, and pouring fire and brimstone down from one to the other, destroying that evil lineage forever.

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[1] The only genealogical information that Gildas ever gives about Ambrosius Aurelianus is that his parents "donned the purple" (whatever that means) and were murdered in the strife leading up to the coming of the Saxons; I hence have used Artorius Constantine (son of Marcus the usurper in this account) as the consul in question.
[2] A "Constantius" is mentioned as the last king of Britain after Julius Caesar, and was said by the Historia Brittonum to have been murdered in the seventeenth year of his reign, so I've used him to replace the Constantine that Geoffrey of Monmouth uses in this role (along with being Ambrosius's and Uther's dad.)
[3] Lea of Damnonia is one and the same as Gildas's "unclean lionness of Damnonia", whom he names as the mother of another Constantine. But more on that later. The "Groans of the Britons" are also mentioned by Gildas, and I date that to 446 for the purposes of this story.
[4] Rowena, who goes unnamed by the Historia Brittonum; I just used the Latin word for "of the Rhine", which shouldn't be too unbelievable for a Germanic woman. The Historia Brittonum has Faustus as the child of Vortigern and his daughter by Rowena (!), but that doesn't work for this timeframe, and is super gross anyway.
[5] This is my attempt to syncretise both versions of Vortigern's death in the Historia Brittonum, which is also the first source to mention the Treachery of the Long Knives (not the Nazi one).


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......I guess I got my timing wrong! :oops: Myrddin will have to wait till next update (after all, we don't have the most famous episode of Vortigern's life mentioned yet. :biggrin:)
 
Well, aside from saying that Claudius founded Camulodunum on the banks of the Thames (when it already existed as Caractacus' capital and is sited on the banks of the Colne; I think you're actually referring to Londonium there) excellent stuff so far.

Probably a bit ambitious with the posting schedule but keep it up you're doing a grand job.
 
Well, aside from saying that Claudius founded Camulodunum on the banks of the Thames (when it already existed as Caractacus' capital and is sited on the banks of the Colne; I think you're actually referring to Londonium there) excellent stuff so far.

Probably a bit ambitious with the posting schedule but keep it up you're doing a grand job.

Well, the accounts of the time claimed Severus built Hadrian's Wall, so some inaccuracies are part of the style really.

Excellent update there.
 
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