Category Archives: history

The Story of Cartimandua, a Queen of the Ancient Britons



In Vengeance of a Slave, although she does not appear, there is mention of the Queen of the Brigantes, Cartimandua. Here is her story.



You are certain to have heard of Queen Boudicca. She was the queen of the Iceni who raised a revolt against the Romans. She almost won, too. I don’t suppose so many of you have heard of Queen Cartimandua, though. She is the queen of the Brigantes, the biggest tribe in Brittania Her story is very different from that of Boudicca.

She inherited her throne at around the same time as the Romans came to Brittania. She was married to a man called Venutius, and when the Romans came north, they made a treaty with them in order to retain their power. Of course, this was only nominal. The Romans really held the power. Still, she kept something, which was more than Boudicca did, in the end.

Then the people in the west, the Catuvellauni, rose up under the leadership of a man called Caratacus. They led a hit and run kind of resistance against the Romans and were quite successful for a time. Of course, the inevitable happened and they were defeated. By a man called Osotorius Scapula, I believe. Caratacus managed to escape and came to Cartimandua for refuge.

Of course, our queen was none too pleased. This might affect her relationship with Rome, and thus her position on the throne. What did she do to this man asking for her help? She put him in chains and took him to the Romans in Eberacum. The Romans were delighted and heaped great wealth on her, but her husband was not so pleased, nor were the people.

What will happen to Cartimandua? Will her people revolt and will the Romans protect her?

If you enjoyed this and other tales of Ancient Britain, please leave a comment, and sign up for notification of further book releases and blog posts.

If you like to read about this period, here is a link to my novel, Vengeance of a Slave.

Here is a little more about Cartimandua, Qyeen of the Brigantes.

Cartimandua and her husband fell out over this, of course. But it was not the only bone of contention. For a while, it seems, Cartimandua had been having an affair with Venutius’s armour bearer. After the betrayal of Caratacus, she decided to divorce Venutius and marry her lover, whose name is Vellocatus.

It wasn’t long before Venutius led a rebellion. Only to be expected. He was much more popular than Cartimandua, especially after the betrayal of Caratacus and his divorce. He started to make alliances with other of our tribes, and was all ready to invade Brigantia.

Cartimandua went to the Romans then, andthey sent troops to defend her. A battle was fought, and both sides seemed to be evenly matched until the arrival of the IX legion Hispanica from Eberacum.

This was a lucky break for Cartimandua. She very narrowly escaped being captured by the rebels, but the rebels were defeated and Venutius once more had to leave Brigantia.

It seems he hadn’t given up his rebellious ideas, though. He bided his time until Emperor Nero died in Rome. At his death, the Roman Empire fell into chaos. There were several emperors in quick succession, and many of the Roman troops had to go back to defend Rome and the empire. Other groups of people took advantage of this, and so did Venutius.

He attacked Brigantia once again, and this time, the Romans could only send auxilliary troops to defend Cartimandua.

She was forced to flee to Deva and abandoned the Brigantes to Ventuvius. No-one heard any more of her after this.

In spite of his success, once the Romans had settled their problems they attacked him and ousted him form the kingship, thus Brigantia became completely under Roman rule.

That is the end of the tale of Cartimandua and the Brigantes.

This story is not integral to Vengeance of a Slave, but is briefly mentioned, just as Boudicca’s rebellion is mentioned.

If you are interested in reading historical novels, and like this period of history, you can get a copy of Vengeance of a Slave from Amazon, as an ebook. I am currently doing some more work on it, and have unpublished the paperback. It will shortly be re-published, though, and I will let you know when that will be. The updated version will also be available as an ebook as well, at that time.

Follow this link:


A Roman Legion A Poem

Some time ago I posted a poem based on a challenge. Take the seventh book on your bookshelf, find the seventh page, count down to the seventh line and write a seven line poem. In writing that poem, I forgot that it was suuposed to be seven lines. I wrote several verses. Then, realising my mistake, I wrote another that is acthally seven lines long. I posted the longer one some time ago, but I think I should give the ‘correct’ one an airing.

Let me know what you think. The line was the first line of this poem.

roman century

A Roman Legion also had other skills:
Engineers, builders, tailors too.
They built the roads so straight and true.
They built a wall across the hills,
Built bridges over foaming rills.
They made their clothes and built a fort
And fought the foe without a thought.

It wasn’t an easy challenge. Perhaps you’d like to have a go. I’d be interested to see your results.

The Batavian Revolution. Ancient Roman History.



This took place between the years 69 and 70 CE. The Batavi was a small tribe living in Germania Inferior, near the Rhine delta. They sent some conscripts to Rome, who became what was known as The Germanic Bodyguard and were personal guards of the emperor. When they revolted, they were joined by other tribes in the area as well as some Gallic tribes.

Julius Civilis was a Batavian prince. He was also a Roman citizen and a prefect in the Roman army. He was stationed in Britain, but when his legion returned to Germania, he and his brother were arrested on trumped up charges of treason. His brother was executed and Civilis, being a Roman citizen was taken to Rome to be tried by the emperor himself.

The emperor Nero had been becoming more and more despotic, and so Julius Vindex, the governor of Gaul, decided to try to do something about it. He found what he thought as a worthy successor in a man called Galba. He fomented a revolution, Galba became emperor and Nero committed suicide.

Galba disbanded the Germanic Bodyguard because he mistrusted them as they had been loyal to Nero. The Batavian people took this as an insult.

After the death of Nero, Rome was plunged into civil war. There followed what is known as the Year of the Four Emperors. Galba’s deputy, Otho, overthrew him in a coup, then Vitellius prepared to take the Rhine legions to Rome to overthrow Otho. Once there, Vitellius released Civilis in order to gain his help. This Civilis did, and the Batavi joined the Rhine legions and overthrew Otho at the battle of Bedriacum.

After the battle, the Batavi were ordered to return home, but then Vespasian, commander of the forces in Syria, revolted. He was joined by the legions of the Danube.

Vitellius tried to conscript more than the agreed maximum number of conscripts from the Batavi. This, the brutality of the conscripting centurians and the sexual assaults on Batavian boys brought things to a head.

In the summer of 69, Civilis was commander of the Batavian troops in the Rhine regions. He persuaded the tribe known as Cananefates, to revolt and to attack a number of Roman forts.

This was a good time to do this since most of the troops were off fighting the civil war in Rome. The commander of the Rhine regions then sent troops to put down this rebellion, leaving the rest of the area vulnerable. Civilis and his men defeated the Romans near what is now Arnhem.

To deal with this insurrection, the commander sent two legions, V Alaudae and XV Primigenea to fight them. These legions included some Batavian cavalry, who defected to their countrymen during the battle and so the Romans lost after which the Batavians were promised independence.

Civilis wanted vengeance, however. He wanted to destroy the two legions. He besieged their camp. With the civil war in Rome, the Romans could do little about this. They did not have the troops to spare.

Then came the news of Vitellius’s defeat. This had been helped by Civilis pinning down two legions, but his aim was not to help Vespasian. He launched an attack on Krefeld, sending his eight best cavalry troops. This time, the Roman army was successful, destroying all eight troops, but at great loss to themselves.

Civilis then lifted the siege, saying that the legions could have free passage providing they left everything behind for his men to loot. The two legions left with nothing, but a few kilometers away, they were ambushed and all of them destroyed.

Vespasian, once he had established himself on the throne, sent an enormous army to deal with Civilis and his rebels. On hearing of the approach of the army, one of Civilis’s allies surrendered, but Civilis himself continued to fight.

He made a series of raids from land and from the river, once capturing a Roman flagship. The Romans then invaded Batavia and the revolt was over.

It is against this chaotic part of the Roman Empire that Vengeance of a Slave is set. Adelbehrt’s father and some of the other villagers take the opportunity of a weakened army on the Rhine to raid across the river into the Roman lands. This leads to the terrible punishment of the men at the beginning of the book.


If you are interested in reading more about Adelbehrt and his sister Avelina, and how they come to be in Britannia, click on this link. http:/


A review of A Pimlico Boyhood by L.A.Myers

I read this book this month, having received a copy for Christmas. I loved it. It was well-written, and gave a clear picture of what life was like in the 1940s in Pimlico. London.
At the beginning of the book, the author gives a little of the history of Pimlico and where it is, as so many will not know this. It is interesting to learn of the wages people were earning in those times, too.
He goes on to tell of the games they played as children in those days, and how girls’ games differed from boys’. How people got around was also of interest. Mr Myers describes the Hansom Cabs that people used before cars became something other than the preserve of the rich. The food they ate and the life of children in school. You name it, and it’s there.
There is so much of the rich life led by the working classes in those distant days that I cannot begin to describe it all. You should read this small book for yourselves.
The only thing I would criticise is the price, which seems rather high for such a small book.
I gave it a 5* review on Amazon.



Boudicca’s Revolt

As you will know if you’ve been reading my pages, I also write under the name of Emily Littler. The novels (well, one to date and another on the way) I write under that name are Historical novels, and the first, Vengeance of a Slave, is set in Roman Britain. I thought it might be interesting to give a little background and so I am posting a few bits that I think you might be interested in. The first is about a woman who most will have heard of. Boudicca, sometimes known as Boadiccea, Queen of the Iceni in Eastern Britain.


The year is 60 AD. Suetonius, the governor of Britannia is off on the island of Mona, putting down a revolt of the Druids there. This island, off the coast of North Wales, is a stronghold of the Druids. The Romans hate them. I suppose it’s because they refuse to worship the Roman gods, and deny that the emperor is a god.

I am of the Iceni tribe, and I have seen what has been happening. Our king, Prasutagus, has died, but, he made his will and has left our lands to his two daughters and the emperor, Nero, to govern together.

I suppose he thought he would secure the safety of the tribe by having the emperor himself a joint ruler. However, things seem to be turning out very differently.

After Prasutagus’s death, Nero decided he was going to be the sole ruler of our lands, and he has sent troops to annex them. Needless to say, this has angered Boudicca, Prasutagus’s queen. Nero has wilfully ignored her husband’s will.

Prasutagus was an ally of Rome, and this is how his last will and testament is being treated. Still, this is the emperor and his greed is notorious. Indeed, the greed of all the Romans for land and other goods is well-known.

Boudicca has made her anger known to the Romans. They are not pleased. I heard the soldiers took her and flogged her, then raped her daughters. I am worried about what will happen now. Queen Boudicca is a strong woman and I don’t think she will readily accept this treatment.


I was right. Boudicca is full of anger. She is planning a revolt. No, a war. She has gained the support of the Trinovantes, and it is said, some other tribes too, as well as the Iceni. They are marching to Camulodunum. The Romans have erected a temple there to their emperor, Claudius. And at our expense. The cheek of it. The Romans say their emperors are gods. Crazy folk, these Romans.

But we Britons have a great history. We saw Julius Caesar off when he came to conquer, so why not these Romans, and why not with Boudicca at our head?. She’s a great leader. She inspired her army with these words.

“It is not as a woman descended from noble ancestry, but as one of the people that I am avenging lost freedom, my scourged body, the outraged chastity of my daughters. This is a woman’s resolve; as for men, they may live and be slaves.”

Well, she did it. she managed to conquer Camulodunum. They say she razed it to the ground and slaughtered the inhabitants. Perhaps a bit violent, as many died who were not Romans. But that happens in War.

Boudicca besieged the remaining people in the temple of Claudius for two days. The Romans living there sent for help, but only 200 auxilliaries turned up, so it was easy to fight them off. Very few of them survived.
‘Londinium next,’ they said. ‘The army is going to do the same there as they did in Camulodunum.’ They didn’t expect the rest of the army to come marching down Watling Street from Mona in response. The Romans made for Londinium, but we were too many for the Roman army and so they left.

Londinium was not important enough, evidently, for the Romans to fight for it. In spite of the pleas of the population, mainly traders and merchant vessels. Suetonius, the commander of the army, left the city to Boudicca.

Our army reached Londinium, and finding little or no resistance, they razed that to the ground too, just like Camulodunum. Many of the population had left with Suetonius, but the army put those who had remained to the sword, then burned the buildings.

The same fate awaited Verulamium, a little further north. The slaughter was terrible, they said. Boudicca had no interest in taking prisoners even as slaves, but killed everyone in the most brutal fashions she could think of. They say that in the slaughter, of the three towns, between seventy and eighty thousand people were killed.

Boudicca and her followers made sacrifices of some of these people to the gods. Were the gods pleased? who knows. The following events don’t seem to suggest as much.


While Boudicca and her allies were slaughtering and burning, Suetonius was busy. He regrouped his army and he called on his own force, the Legio XIV Gemina, and some vexillationes from the XX Valeria Victrix. Although the Legio II Augusta di not come to Suetonius’s call, nevertheless he managed to amass around ten thousand men. Then they marched to meet our army.

Suetonius took a stand somewhere along Watling Street, in a small valley with a wood behind him. He was still heavily outnumberd by Boudicca’s forces, though. Our army, I was told, numbered about 230,000.

Boudicca made a speech from her chariot and fired up her army. She pointed out that the gods were with them because they had already routed one legion, She did not, of course, mention that it was not the full legion.

Well, a number of things were against our army that day. The terrain was narrow, being in a valley, and so we could not put any more men forward at a time than the Romans could. Then, in that valley, our chariots proved to be not very manoeverable.

At first, when we attacked, the Romans threw heavy pila at us. These were a kind of javelin, and they killed thousands of our men, rushing forward to engage battle.

Then they formed a wedge and forced our men back. They were highly disciplined, and our troops were not. We fought as every man for himself and all rushed forward as individuals, with no thought for co-operation with each other.

Then the men were forced back against the wagons where the women and children waited. That was another thing. The Romans did not bring their families to battle.

The long and short of it is that we were defeated, and heavily. Boudicca poisoned herself rather than submit to the Romans, no one knows what happened to her daughers. Perhaps they were taken as slaves, perhaps they, too, committed suicide, or perhaps, just perhaps, they might have escaped.

They say that after this battle, Nero was ready to abandon Britannia. Unfortunately, though, he didn’t. After the uprising, Suetonius started to conduct punitive operations, but Nero feared he would trigger a new uprising so replaced him. He replaced Suetonius with our current governor, Publius Petronius Turpilianus.

So that is where we are today. Under the rule of Rome. They, the Romans, say it’s good. We are at peace. they’ve stopped the inter-tribal wars and brought us what they say is culture. But we had culture before. It was just not the same as the Romans.

You can read my book, Vengeance of a Slave, set a little after Boudicca’s revolt.



Addition of a new page.

Hi, Everybody,

I have been writing historical novels under the name of Emily Littler. I currently have one pubished, called Vengeance of a Slave. I started a website in order to promote it and get it known that it exists. However, I’m finding it well nigh impossible to keep up with both this site and that one  so I’ve decided to add a page here dedicated to Emily’s novels.




New Historical Novel

I’ve just published Vengeance of a Slave, my Historical Novel set in Roman Britain, on Amazon. Since it’s a very different genre, I’ve written it under a pen name.

The book is available for pre-order and will be published on April 29th. You can pre-order it as you would an already published book, from Amazon.

If you want to have an idea of the book, then you can read an extract on on Saturday of next week.bookcover2


Help Requested



I’ve written a book under the pen name of Emily Littler.

It’s a historical novel set in the time of Roman Britain. I decided to put it up on Kindle Scout. Kindle Scout is exactly what it says. Kindle scouting for authors who they then publish (rather than the author self-publishing.) They act just like the mainstream publishers in that they give an advance, (although small!) and do all the formatting and marketing as well as producing an audio version and foreign language translations.

In order to select the books, they hold a ballot. The book (s) with the most recommends will be accepted. All you need to do is click on the link below and then click on the button to nominate or recommend my book.

You can read extracts from it before you click, so you’re not nominating something you’ve not seen.

Please find a few seconds to help me. The link is below.

Viv Sang


Update on my writing



Well, yesterday I heard that Viv’s Family Recipes is now available in a paperback edition. You can buy it from Amazon. or your local amazon site.


I sent the manuscript of Elemental Worlds off to the editor, so things are beginning to move on that one. I think it’s the best one yet. No ideas as to when it will be availabe though. I’ll keep you in touch. We need to agree a cover, too. As soon as we pick one, I’ll reveal it to you all for comments.

On February 10th you can get The Wolf Pack free from Creativia, and on February 14th, Viv’s Family Recipes is also free. Take advantage of these offers and many more from 1st to 14th February. You can see the books at Sahara Foley’s website.


Charity Begins at Home?



I am responding to a post by Clancy Tucker that he posted on his blog, It was about The Peace Corps set up in 1961 by President Kennedy. The idea was to get young people to go abroad to countries that needed help and give that aid. Someone made the comment that he did not think there would be many volunteers from the current generation as they don’t seem to be into volunteering.

Be that as it may, my thoughts went to people here in the UK, not usually the young, who are against foreign aid. They often quote the Bible, although how many of them know they are doing so I’m not sure.

What they say is ‘Well, Charity begins at home, so we shouldn’t be sending all this money abroad in foreign aid. We should be spending it on our own people.’

They are interpreting this saying as ‘Charity begins (and ends) at home. This is not how I see it at all.

My interpretation is twofold.


 I see it as a message to parents to teach their children about kindness and love. If the parents don’t show kindness, love and helpfulness in the home, then the children won’t learn it. Thus, Charity begins at home, and as the children grow up with such a loving and caring background, they will then be able to extend that love to others.
 Then there is the other side of the same coin. If you cannot be charitable to those you live with, you cannot be charitable to those outside your immediate family.

That is how I see the saying. Unfortunately, too many disagree with me and rail against the help we send to poor countries.

Please leave any comments below.

Next week, as it’s the first Tuesday of the Month, I’ll be posting the next instalment of Asphodel’s story.