Snippets of The Prodigal Band Trilogy: Historical Context, Part Two—William of Normandy Invades Britain, and Genealogy

As with the Roman invasion of Britain under Emperor Claudius in 43 AD, the Norman invasion of Britain in 1066 AD has little context within The Prodigal Band Trilogy, except for one thing: a major spiritual character, Morwenna, aka ‘the witch of the Hovels,’ would not have had the influence she had on the prodigal band had this invasion not taken place, and had this invasion not been aided by an aristocratic family that somewhat aided the forces of William the Conqueror.

It is weird with aristocrats…throughout history, various aristocratic families have had a tendency to aid the enemies of their countrymen and that would include fellow aristocrats. But when power is to be had, aristocrats often turn against their fellows in order to gain power: Julius Caesar vs. Brutus; Tutors vs. Stuarts; the Hundred Years War between opposing yet related royal families of France and England; the Biblical split up of Israel into Israel vs. Judah, Spanish vs. Austrian Habsburgs, and many more. But the rivalry between Duke William of Normandy and England’s King Harold, as both are closely related, is somewhat complicated, which led to the Norman invasion aided by Norsemen and other English rival aristocrat families where timing was key. From the Wikipedia page on the Norman Conquest:

“The Norman Conquest (or the Conquest) was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army made up of Normans, Bretons, Flemish, and men from other French provinces, all led by the Duke of Normandy later styled William the Conqueror.

William’s claim to the English throne derived from his familial relationship with the childless Anglo-Saxon king Edward the Confessor, who may have encouraged William’s hopes for the throne. Edward died in January 1066 and was succeeded by his brother-in-law Harold Godwinson. The Norwegian king Harald Hardrada invaded northern England in September 1066 and was victorious at the Battle of Fulford, but Godwinson’s army defeated and killed Hardrada at the Battle of Stamford Bridge on 25 September. Within days, William landed in southern England. Harold marched south to oppose him, leaving a significant portion of his army in the north. Harold’s army confronted William’s invaders on 14 October at the Battle of Hastings; William’s force defeated Harold, who was killed in the engagement.”

So Vikings invaded northern England around the time Normans did? Hmmmm… Yet, if one has watched the History Channel TV series Vikings, it might make sense. It turns out William of Normandy is directly descended from Normandy’s first ruler, Rollo, a Viking (and brother to the TV show’s main character, Ragnar Lothbrok), who, after trying to conquer France in Paris, wound up marrying the Carolingian King Charles’s daughter (and supposedly converting to Christianity) and was given Normandy to rule over in 911 AD. (Note: the Carolingians are descended from Charlemagne, who took over France in 800 AD, crowned by the pope of that time.)

“In 911, the Carolingian French ruler Charles the Simple allowed a group of Vikings under their leader Rollo to settle in Normandy as part of the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte. In exchange for the land, the Norsemen under Rollo were expected to provide protection along the coast against further Viking invaders. Their settlement proved successful, and the Vikings in the region became known as the “Northmen” from which “Normandy” and “Normans” are derived. The Normans quickly adopted the indigenous culture as they became assimilated by the French, renouncing paganism and converting to Christianity. They adopted the langue d’oïl of their new home and added features from their own Norse language, transforming it into the Norman language. They intermarried with the local population and used the territory granted to them as a base to extend the frontiers of the duchy westward, annexing territory including the Bessin, the Cotentin Peninsula and Avranches.”

So, is it possible these Viking invaders against King Harold invaded to aid in the cause of Rollo’s (I’m speculating here) great-great grandson, William? Hmmmm…. It was Rollo, then son William I, grandson Richard I, then sister of great-grandson Richard II (Edward the Confessor), then Harold, whom William considered illegitimate as he was promised the throne. And why does a Viking invasion have any context within the trilogy? For one thing, the mother of singer Erik is Norwegian—from what would turn out to be a family that had roots in the Norman invasion, as a snippet will tell later in this post.

Continue reading “Snippets of The Prodigal Band Trilogy: Historical Context, Part Two—William of Normandy Invades Britain, and Genealogy”

Snippets of The Prodigal Band Trilogy: Historical Context, Part One: Rome Invades Britain Under Emperor Claudius; Druids

According to this Wikipedia post on Rome’s conquest of Britain, the conquest began under Emperor Claudius in 43 AD. The historical context within The Prodigal Band Trilogy however isn’t really about conquering England or trying to conquer Scotland or keep the “Picts” as the Scots were called from trying to get rid of the Romans (one reason Hadrian’s Wall was built just north of the Tyne River, to keep out the “Picts”). The historical context is about conquering Wales, home to the fictitious Crag-Dweller sect of Celtic cannibals led by the pagan priest Crynnwagg in the fictitious “Craggy Mountains”. According to Wikipedia, when the Romans conquered Wales they had to put down the Druids as well. Unfortunately, Wikipedia does not have a post about Druids in Wales, but just Druids, a sect of priests that worshiped various pagan gods of the Celts, throughout Celtic areas including Scotland, Ireland, England, Breton (now part of France), Gaul (most of present-day France) and Cornwall, which has its own Cornish dialect.

The trilogy states the year 50 AD as the time when Rome invaded Wales, but that is not true, yet not far off either. According to the map on the Wikipedia page, the Romans entered Wales in 54 AD, and, by 96 AD, Wales was pretty much conquered completely. I chose the year 50 AD, not knowing exactly when Rome tried to invade Wales, because it’s a ‘round number’ so to speak—plus, there was a new Roman Emperor in 54 AD, Nero. And another thing—that fact that Rome conquered Wales and most of the rest of Britain really doesn’t play into the novels. Yet, the fact is (which I knew was fact for years) that the Druids did try to keep the Romans out of Britain (as they’d tried in Gaul and other places they inhabited, but under Julius Caesar in his time—Caesar did conquer Gaul and did visit Britain for a bit). Therefore, since the trilogy features the evil Crynnwagg as the high priest of the Crag Dwellers who lived in the ‘Craggy’ Mountains of Wales and fought Druids, and since Druids did try to keep out the Romans, it figured that the Roman invasion under Claudius needed to be referenced. From Wikipedia:

“…Late in 47 the new governor of Britain, Publius Ostorius Scapula, began a campaign against the tribes of modern-day Wales, and the Cheshire Gap. The Silures of southeast Wales caused considerable problems to Ostorius and fiercely defended the Welsh border country. Caratacus himself was defeated in the Battle of Caer Caradoc and fled to the Roman client tribe of the Brigantes who occupied the Pennines. Their queen Cartimandua was unable or unwilling to protect him however, given her own truce with the Romans, and handed him over to the invaders. Ostorius died and was replaced by Aulus Didius Gallus who brought the Welsh borders under control but did not move further north or west, probably because Claudius was keen to avoid what he considered a difficult and drawn-out war for little material gain in the mountainous terrain of upland Britain. When Nero became emperor in 54, he seems to have decided to continue the invasion and appointed Quintus Veranius as governor, a man experienced in dealing with the troublesome hill tribes of Anatolia. Veranius and his successor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus mounted a successful campaign across North Wales, famously killing many druids when he invaded the island of Anglesey in 60. Final occupation of Wales was postponed however when the rebellion of Boudica forced the Romans to return to the south east in 60 or 61.”

Most of Wales was conquered in the 70s AD, according to Wikipedia.

“…The new governor was Agricola, returning to Britain, and made famous through the highly laudatory biography of him written by his son-in-law, Tacitus. Arriving in mid-summer of 78, Agricola completed the conquest of Wales in defeating the Ordovices…He then invaded Anglesey, forcing the inhabitants to sue for peace.”

Further down scrolling indicates in red all of Wales was conquered up to around where Hadrian’s Wall would be located, in 96 AD. As for the Druids, from the Wikipedia page on Druids:

Continue reading “Snippets of The Prodigal Band Trilogy: Historical Context, Part One: Rome Invades Britain Under Emperor Claudius; Druids”

Snippets of The Prodigal Band Trilogy Controversial Topics Series: Episode Six-The Consequences of Poverty and Debt (Part One)

As with Episode Five about the controversial topic of Evolution vs. Creation and Intelligent Design, this episode, Six, will be in two parts. This post will discuss how indentured servitude, stemming from poverty and debt, plays into the trilogy. Part Two will feature snippets about the consequences of indentured servitude from the trilogy.

Throughout history, neither poverty nor debt has been controversial, and poverty and debt can happen by being born into it with virtually no way out, or through bad fortune, or through theft. Billions of people on Earth are poor and even more are in debt of some kind.

What makes poverty and debt controversial within The Prodigal Band Trilogy, however, is the legally binding document called an indenture, which by definition binds one party into the service of another party for a stipulated period of time. The document is called an indenture based on a legal meaning of an ‘indent’ which is a legal contract drawn up in duplicate or triplicate. Thus, the notion of ‘indentured servitude’ means that person doing the service does so for a stipulated period of time; mostly in history it has been used to pay back a debt. Historically, that period of time tended to be seven years.

Along with slavery, indentured servitude was abolished in the US by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

Continue reading “Snippets of The Prodigal Band Trilogy Controversial Topics Series: Episode Six-The Consequences of Poverty and Debt (Part One)”