Boudicca: Great Queen of the Iceni

The following is a reblog of a post entitled, “Boudicca: Great Queen of the Iceni” that was originally published on December 5, 2009. Hope you enjoy reading.

Derilea's Dream: Memoirs of a Pictish Queen

Pictland virtually ignored after Agricolan campaign Why were Roman legions so interested in subduing some tribes and not others? Why build the great edifices of Antonine and Hadrian‘s occupations to shut out the northern territories and patrol the borders with encampments, but essentialaly ignore them, when others, like Queen Boudicca of the Iceni, merited wholesale plunder, murder and annihilation?

It was not merely a matter of geography. The Northern Tribes of the Caledonians, in what eventually became Pictland, were hostile but they were no immediate threat to Rome. They were warlike and they were rich in land, but their territories were only worthy of one campaign: that of Julius Agricola in AD77. During that campaign, while he was Consul of Rome and Governor of Britannia, he conquered much of Wales and northern England and made his historic venture into lowland and eastern Scotland to conclude his enterprise at the legendary battle of Mons Graupius

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Caesar’s Invasion of Britannia (Part 1)

Celtic Tradition of Raven:
I have fled in the shape of a raven of prophetic speech (Taliesin). The raven offers initiation—the destruction of one thing to give birth to another. For deeper understanding, the heroine must journey through darkness to emerge into the morning’s new light.
 

 

INTRODUCTION

This is a reblog of a post that was published on March 28, 2013, by Linnea Tanner on this website. The historical fantasy series, Curse of Clansmen and Kings, is envisioned to be five-book saga spanning from 24 to 40 AD in Britannia (England), Gaul (modern-day France), and Rome prior to the invasion of Claudius in 43 AD. Though Julius Caesar’s invasion of Britannia occurred eighty years earlier in 55 and 54 BC, there is archaeological evidence that his invasion was not a momentary diversion from his conquest of Gaul. Instead, it was his effort to establish the dynasties of the most powerful tribes of southeast Britain who would swear their loyalty to Rome.

The next series of posts will summarize historical and archaeological evidence of possible events that led to the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 AD. The military expedition of Julius Caesar into Britannia, occurring eighty years earlier, sets the backdrop for Rome’s foreign relationships with the Celtic rulers in Britannia. The political unrest of tribal rulers competing for Rome’s favor sets the stage for the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. The series follows the epic odyssey of Catrin — destined to become a warrior queen of her Cantiaci kingdom — and her Roman lover, the great-grandson of Marc Antony (Marcus Antonius).

Statue of Julius Caesar

CAESAR’S INVASION OF BRITANNIA

PLANNING

In 55 AD, Caesar decided to invade Britannia because powerful chieftains had secretly aided the Gauls in their war against Rome. Most of Caesar’s limited information about Britannia was derived from traders. Thus, he wanted to learn more about the island’s size, the harbors suitable for landing larger vessels, and the names of tribal leaders and their military state and organization. He dispatched Commius, King of the Atrebates tribe from Gaul, to impress upon the British leaders that they needed to cooperate with the Romans. A formidable general, Caesar threatened to visit them in person to assure their alliance.

As Caesar prepared his fleet to invade Britannia from a port near modern-day Boulogne France, traders informed British chieftains of his planned military expedition. Some Celtic tribes from southeast Britannia (modern-day Kent) sent envoys promising to hand over hostages to Caesar and to acknowledge Rome’s suzerainty over them. In essence, the Celtic leaders promised Caesar that Rome could control their foreign relations as a vassal state in exchange for allowing them authority over their internal affairs. Encouraged by the willingness of the Celtic rulers to negotiate, Caesar allowed the British envoys to return home.

Frieze of Ancient Roman Warship

 

ROMAN LANDING

In late summer at midnight, Caesar disembarked eighty ships that were sufficient to transport two legions (about 10,000 soldiers). He left instructions for eighteen ships to transport the cavalry further north on the coastline. When his warships first reached the Britannia shores early the next morning, the whole line of hills (Dover Cliffs) was crowned with armed warriors. There was little space between the sea and rising white cliffs from which the Celtic spearmen could easily hurl their weapons down. As landing was impossible, Caesar directed his fleet to sail seven miles north to an open, flat expanse of shingled beach. The Celtic horsemen followed Caesar’s ships on the hilltops as they sailed up the coastline.

Replica of Ancient Roman Ship

BATTLE WITH CELTIC HORSEMEN

Further north, Caesar’s forces found getting ashore to be a difficult feat. Roman soldiers were forced to jump overboard without knowing the depth of the bottom. Laden with heavy equipment, Roman troops waded through the channel’s shallow waters to get ashore. While trying to maintain their footing in the surf, the Roman infantrymen confronted Celtic horsemen that could outmaneuver them on land.

Celtic Horned Helmet

At first, the Roman legionaries panicked. Then Caesar ordered the warships to hurl sling-stones, arrows, and artillery at the Celtic horsemen to drive them from their point of vantage. An eagle-bearer from the Tenth Legion emboldened his comrades by leaping into the water and shouting, “I, at any rate, shall not be found wanting in my duty to my country and general.”

The battle was fiercely contested. The Romans found it impossible to maintain formation, while the Celtic warriors seized every opportunity to dash in with their horses at isolated groups of soldiers struggling to get ashore. Once Caesar firmly landed the infantrymen, they charged and routed the Britons. After the Celtic army was vanquished in battle, the tribal rulers again sent envoys to Caesar and returned Commius, the King of the Atrebetas who had been originally dispatched to herald Caesar’s coming. The Celtic chieftains again promised to give Caesar hostages and to yield to his orders.

Shingle Beach Near Deal UK where Julius Caesar Landed

(To be continued)

 References:

Julius Caesar, translated by F. P. Long, 2005. The Conquest of Gaul. United States: Barnes  & Noble, Inc.

John Manley, 2002. AD 43—The Roman Invasion of Britain. Charlston, SC: Tempus Publishing Inc.

 

© Copyright March 28, 2013 by Linnea Tanner. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 

Book Review Forged by Iron by Eric Schumacher

Forged By Iron (Olaf's Saga Book 1)Forged By Iron by Eric Schumacher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Forged by Iron is the first book in The Saga of King Olaf that sweeps you into a Nordic adventure in 960 AD. The Viking-era book is based on the tales of King Olaf but is told in first-person by Torgil, a twelve-year-old boy sworn to protect the reckless 8-year-old Prince Olaf. The story begins when the shy but courageous Torgil helps rescue Olaf after the young prince recklessly jumps off a cliff with a dare from his older companions. The resentment that Torgil holds for Olaf is established at the beginning of the tale as the Norns weave the fates of the young boys. They are both caught up in the political machinations of Holger who betrays and kills Olaf’s father. Under the protection of Torgil and his father, Queen Astrid and Olaf are forced to escape with their lives on a harrowing journey through Norway, into Sweden, and modern-day Estonia. The travails the boys face forge them into hardened young men bent on vengeance.

Author Eric Schumacher masterfully captures the essence of the characters while telling a riveting adventure and coming of age story of two boys who must face almost insurmountable challenges. Torgil is an engaging character. Although he is sometimes jealous of Olaf, Torgil nonetheless does his duty to protect the young prince even though they sometimes clash. What makes this tale rise above others in this genre is the author’s ability to vividly capture the Viking culture and the harsh landscapes they must traverse. The story is rich with vivid, unique descriptions as seen through the eyes of a boy. One of the aspects I liked most is Torgil’s confused feelings about the queen’s handmaiden, Turid, in a budding relationship in which they reach out to each other at difficult times. The poignant moments are juxtaposed with the harsh realities that they face as they are chased by enemies bent on their destruction. Extra bonuses in the book include regional maps and a glossary of Viking terms which are used in the narrative.

Forged by Iron immerses you in the legendary tale of King Olaf as told by his protector’s point of view. I highly recommend this character-driven Viking adventure for those who are swept up in the Nordic culture, landscape, and clashes. I look forward to continuing this saga when the next book comes out in this series.

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About Eric Schumacher

 

Eric Schumacher is an American historical novelist who currently resides in Santa Barbara, California, with his wife and two children. He was born and raised in Los Angeles and attended college at the University of San Diego.

At a very early age, Schumacher discovered his love for writing and medieval European history, as well as authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Those discoveries continue to fuel his imagination and influence the stories he tells. His first novel, God’s Hammer, was published in 2005. His latest books, War King, was released in October of 2018 and Forged by Iron was recently released.

You can contact Eric Schumacher and learn more about his books at:

Amazon Author Page

Website/Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

 

View all my reviews at Goodreads

Author Interview Linnea Tanner ManyBooks

Author Interview Linnea Tanner on ManyBooks

I am pleased and honored to reblog “Linnea Tanner – Fascinated with Ancient Rome and Britannia,” posted 27th of March, 2020 by Naomi Bolton and featured on ManyBooks Author of the Day. The interview provides insight into what inspired me to write Dagger’s Destiny (Book 2 Curse of Clansmen and Kings). In conjunction with the interview, the price of Dagger’s Destiny has been reduced to 99 cents through March 31st.

For the original post, click Interview ManyBooks

 

tanner2
Award-winning Author Linnea Tanner weaves Celtic tales of love, magic, adventure, betrayal, and intrigue into historical fiction set in Ancient Rome and Britannia. Since childhood, she has passionately read about ancient civilizations and mythology which held women in higher esteem. Of particular interest are the enigmatic Celts who were reputed as fierce warriors and mystical Druids. Depending on the time of day and season of the year, you will find her exploring and researching ancient and medieval history, mythology and archaeology to support her writing. As the author of the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series, she has extensively researched and traveled to sites described within each book. A native of Colorado, Linnea attended the University of Colorado and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry. She lives in Windsor with her husband and has two children and six grandchildren. As our Author of the Day, Tanner tells us all about her book, Dagger’s Destiny.

Please give us a short introduction to what Dagger’s Destiny is about.

Dagger’s Destiny continues the story of Catrin, a Celtic warrior princess, and Marcellus, the great-grandson of Mark Antony, that began with the first awarding-winning novel, Apollo’s Raven, in The Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. Book 2: Dagger’s Destiny sweeps you into an epic Celtic tale of forbidden love, mythological adventure, and political intrigue in Ancient Rome and Britannia.

When the story begins, war looms over 24 AD Britannia where rival tribal rulers fight each other for power and the Romans threaten to invade to settle their political differences. King Amren accuses his daughter, Catrin, of treason for aiding the Roman enemy and her lover, Marcellus. The ultimate punishment is death unless she can redeem herself and prove her loyalty by forsaking Marcellus and defending their kingdom. Yet, when Catrin again reunites with Marcellus, she is torn between her love for him and duty to her people.

What inspired you to write about a Celtic princess accused of treason?

The choice of love versus duty is a universal theme that has fascinated me in such stories as Mark Antony and Cleopatra and Juliet and Romeo. I explore this theme in Dagger’s Destiny in which both a king and his daughter struggle to balance love and duty. Beginning in Dagger’s Destiny, Catrin faces consequences for saving her enemy lover, Marcellus, in a prisoner exchange that erupted into a conflict between her people and the Romans.

King Amren, who was seriously wounded in the conflict, accuses Catrin of treason for betraying him and his people. It is his duty as king to administer the same punishment to his beloved daughter as he would exact on any traitor in his kingdom. Ultimately, King Amren also faces ramifications for his brutality as king to maintain power while his daughter sacrifices almost everything for love. The struggle to balance love and duty will continue to be a theme throughout the series.

Why Ancient Rome and Britannia? Where does your fascination with this time period come from?

Since childhood, I’ve been fascinated with Ancient Rome after watching 1960’s movies such as Ben Hur and Spartacus and reading ancient history. Although the Roman empire was often depicted as corrupt and debauched, its culture and language left a lasting impact on modern-day western civilization.

On a business trip to the United Kingdom, I was fascinated by the statue of Boudicca, a warrior queen, and her daughters in a chariot. I learned that this formidable Celtic queen united the tribes in ancient Britain to rebel against the Romans. And she almost succeeded!

I became intrigued by the Celts and discovered they also had a lasting impact. During their golden age in 200-300 BC, the Celts spread from Ireland, across Europe, and to Turkey. They were a tribal, warrior society with oral traditions and a common language.

How much research did this book require from you? What is the most interesting aspect of this research?

I extensively researched Roman and Celtic history and visited archaeological sites in the United Kingdom and France. The research on the Celts was the most challenging as they left limited written records. Their history was told through the eyes of their enemies: Julius Caesar and Greek and Roman historians. Monks in medieval monasteries wrote down stories from oral Celtic traditions in Wales and Ireland, but the stories often reflected their Christian values.

One of the most interesting aspect of my research is reading about archaeological evidence that puts a different spin on the Roman conquest of Britannia in 43 AD. Evidence suggests the Roman heavily influenced the politics of British kings after the military excursions of Julius Caesar in 55-54 BC. There was probably a Roman military presence in Britannia to protect their interests and pro-Roman kings prior to Claudius’s conquest in 43 AD. The political situation was not much different than Cleopatra’s Egypt.

This is Book 2 in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. Can it be read as a standalone?

Although there is sufficient background information so Dagger’s Destiny can be read as a standalone, it would be helpful to read Apollo’s Raven first for the background on how the story begins.

Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?

I am an avid gardener. Last year, I grew cantaloupes up to 10 pounds. I also have about 80 roses which I constantly prune and fertilize during the growing season.

Tell us more about the cover and how it came about.

The cover represents Catrin’s struggle to forsake Marcellus so she can accept her duty as a warrior to defend her kingdom. In the background, her homeland is ablaze and in conflict—a consequence of her forbidden love. A curse she tries to break is etched on the dagger in her hand.

Why did you find it important to weave mythological references and mystical experiences into the story?

In the beginning, the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series was intended to be a historical fiction with elements of Celtic religion sprinkled in. However, I couldn’t truly tell Catrin’s story without weaving in her mystical experiences to reflect her culture and pagan beliefs. One of the aspects I found most interesting about the Celts is their belief that the soul is immortal and, upon death, enters into a new body. Celtic artwork reflects how gods or semi-divine shapeshift to appear as animals, a recurring theme in Irish and Welsh mythology. Merlin’s mystical powers from King Arthur legends reflect this Celtic pagan belief. I freely use the concept of the soul to explain Catrin’s shapeshifting abilities and how she views the world.

Tell us more about Catrin. What makes her tick?

Catrin is a strong-minded adolescent fraught with conflicting emotions about her mystical powers that she can’t seem to control and her struggle to do her duty despite her overwhelming blind love for Marcellus. In the eyes of her people, she is a fool. Yet, despite her challenges, she rises above them, even when she is knocked down.

What is your favorite line from this book? Please explain why.

This was a difficult question to answer, but I finally chose a line near the ending: “Pull the dagger out of the stone and embrace my curse as your destiny.” This line is intended as a metaphor that a person’s character is tested by fire and cast into stone as a weapon to overcome life’s challenges and to fulfill his or her destiny.

The book contains quite a couple of twists. Did you plan them all out before you started writing?

Ideas for twists often bubbles up during periods of writer’s block. It is a signal that my plot is not working, and I need to do something different. It is as if the characters in my head are telling me to get out of the way and allow them to tell the story.

What are you working on right now?

I’m now working on Book 4: Skull’s Vengeance in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. Although this book has been drafted for a few years, I’m changing the storyline because of unexpected twists in Book 3: Amulet’s Rapture. The epic series continues to evolve as I edit and revise.

Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?

Readers can discover more of my work at the websites below:

Author website

Amazon author page

Goodreads author page

Readers can interact with me through social media provided below:

Bookbub

Twitter

Facebook

Linked-in

Message from LInnea Tanner

My heart extends out to everyone during this difficult time, particularly those directly impacted by COVID-19. The health professionals on the front lines are the true heroes during this crisis. Please keep well and practice social distancing to help defeat this pandemic. I am truly grateful to the readers who have supported me as an author.

Take care,
Linnea Tanner

 

Forests and Water in Roman Empire

The following is a reblog from Environment and Society that highlights the pressures that the Roman Empire had in order to supply basic needs to its populations. Not only does the post provide interesting historical information, its a warning to the modern-day civilization about the consequences of depleting resources such as forests. If we do not learn from the past we might repeat it.

Environment and Society

If we do not learn from the past we might repeat it.

Deforestation during the Roman period was a result of the geographical expansion of the Roman Empire, with its increased population, large-scale agriculture, and unprecedented economic development. Roman expansion marks the transition in the Mediterranean from prehistory (around 1,000 BC) to the historical period beginning around 500 BC. Earth sustained a few million people 8,000 years ago and was still fundamentally pristine, but Rome drove human development in Western Europe and was a leading contributor of the deforestation around the Mediterranean.

A measure of Roman civilization was availability of water.

Roman Water Carriers – Aqueducts: The Romans are renowned for engineering marvels, among which is the aqueduct that carried water for many miles in order to provide a crowded urban population with relatively safe, potable water, as well as less essential but very Roman aquatic uses. Rome had nine…

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Book Review Antonius: Second in Command by Brook Allen

Antonius: Second in Command (Antonius Trilogy, #2)Antonius: Second in Command by Brook Allen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Antonius: Second in Command” by Brook Allen is the second book in the Antonius Trilogy, spanning the period of 54 BC to 41BC. The saga of Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony) continues in this book at the time he is accepted as a military officer under the command of Julius Caesar. Marcus demonstrates his prowess as a strategic, courageous military leader that Roman soldiers can enthusiastically follow on the battlefields of Britannia and Gaul. With undying loyalty to Julius Caesar, Marcus becomes second-in-command to the renowned Roman general. However, when Marcus assumes political power in Rome on the behest of Caesar, his reputation and marriages flounder. Even though Caesar repudiates him for his political blunders, Marcus remains loyal. After winning Caesar’s trust again, Marcus becomes consul and adeptly administers Rome through chaos after Caesar’s assassination. However, he then faces his greatest challenger, the nineteen-year-old Octavian and adopted son of Caesar. He eventually allies with Octavian to wreak revenge on Julius Caesar’s assassinators at the battle of Phillipi, where the third book of the series will continue.

Author Brook Allen masterfully weaves battle scenes, family drama, and political conspiracies into the saga of Marcus Antonius. There is no doubt that Marcus is a formidable military commander with flashes of brilliance in the political arena. Yet, his womanizing, gambling and drinking continue to lurk him at critical times which his political rivals can use against him. The epic storytelling is engaging and addictive. The battle scenes are described with vivid details. The characters pop off the page, particularly Flavia (Marcus’s third wife) and Octavian. As a fan of the HBO series, “Rome,” I found this book even more intriguing with its rich historical background. One of the most fascinating incidents is when Marcus Antonius has to exchange his young son as a hostage so he could negotiate a truce with the senators who murdered Julius Caesar.

I highly recommend this superb series for fans of historical fiction set in Rome. The essence of Mark Antony and Roman politics rings true back then as it does in modern politics today.

View all my reviews