The Roman Conquest of Britain

The Roman Conquest of BritainWhen the Romans invaded Britain in 43 AD, they crossed in three divisions, under the command of Aulus Plautius.  The ships are thought to have traveled from Boulogne to what is now Richborough, on the east coast of Kent.

The Romans operated on a shock and awe type of warfare and eleven tribes of southeast Britain surrendered to Claudius.  The Romans moved west and north from there,  establishing their new capital at Camulodunum.

It wasn’t until late in 47 AD that the new governor of Britain, Ostorius Scapula, began a campaign against the tribes of modern day Wales.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_conquest_of_Britain

“The ever-pugnacious Caratacus – the Caradog of Welsh legend – moved north to carry on the fight in the territory of the Ordovices in Anglesey and Caernarfon. There, in 51AD, he was defeated and his family captured.”

Later, the Silures defeated the forces sent against them in 52AD, and the grip of the Romans on their new British territory remained a troubled one. Fresh campaigns in 57 and 60AD struck deep into Welsh territory.

The latter campaign was directed at the seat of druidical power in Wales, the Isle of Anglesey. According to the Roman historian Tacitus, the legionnaries doffed their clothes and swam naked across the Menai Straights to do battle with the druid-led Celts.”  .”   http://www.britainexpress.com/wales/history/roman-invasion.htm

“The novelty of the fight struck the Romans with awe and terror. They stood in stupid amazement, as if their limbs were benumbed, riveted to one spot, a mark for the enemy. The exhortations of the general diffused new vigor through the ranks, and the men, by mutual reproaches, inflamed each other to deeds of valor. They felt the disgrace of yielding to a troop of women, and a band of fanatic priests; they advanced their standards, and rushed on to the attack with impetuous fury. The Britons perished in the flames, which they themselves had kindled. The island fell, and a garrison was established to retain it in subjection. The religious groves, dedicated to superstition and barbarous rites, were leveled to the ground. In those recesses, the natives [stained] their altars with the blood of their prisoners, and in the entrails of men explored the will of the gods.”  http://www.bukisa.com/articles/37180_the-roman-invasion-of-wales#ixzz1GzLHSv8g

Just when it looked as if the Romans would be able to subdue the Welsh tribes, a revolt by the Iceni in Norfolk broke out, led by their queen, Boudicca (Boadicea). The Roman forces were diverted, and the Welsh territory remained under very tenuous Roman control for several years.”   http://www.britainexpress.com/wales/history/roman-invasion.htm

Despite this great victory on Anglesey, the Romans continued to have difficulties with the people of northwest Wales.  This is evidenced by the number of military installations in the area and the lack of villas.

“Throughout the second half of the 4th century the Empire became increasingly unstable; barbarian attacks on the borders increased, and it seems that the legions were gradually withdrawn from Wales to counter threats on the continent.

By 390AD there were probably no Roman troops remaining within the borders of Wales. In the next few decades most of the legionnaries in England followed and Brittania was esentially undefended.

The Irish saw their chance; in 405 pirates under Nial ravaged the western coast, and may have precipitated a fresh influx of Irish settlers.”  http://www.britainexpress.com/wales/history/roman-invasion.htm

The First Crusade

The Crusades, Christendom’s attempts to win back the Holy Land and Jerusalem, began in 1095 with the First Crusade.  The Muslims had taken Jerusalem in 1076.

Pope Urban incited the Christians of Medieval Europe with the words: “Christians, hasten to help your brothers in the East, for they are being attacked. Arm for the rescue of Jerusalem under your captain Christ. Wear his cross as your badge. If you are killed your sins will be pardoned.”

The Crusaders had to follow an overland route to Constantinople, where they gathered in preparation for moving south to Palestine. By 1097, after a brutal journey to reach it, nearly 10,000 people had gathered in Constantinople.  http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/cru2.htm

The Crusaders encountered little resistance for the most part, and reached Jerusalem by June 7, 1099.  They began their attack on the 13th, and by the 17th, had slaughtered every Muslim in the city.  They established the Kingdom of Jerusalem and held it for nearly 100 years.

By 1187, however, “Saladin had enough of broken treaties, renegade Crusader Princes’ (see Reginald of Chatillon) attacking Arab caravans and the harassment of his people. Saladin’s army started a march on Jerusalem. His army met up with King Guy [de Lusignon] at the Horns of Hattin on July 4th, 1187. Guy was poorly advised. He was greatly outnumbered but he attacked, and after a long, bloody battle, was taken prisoner. Balian of Ibelin was also captured at this time, but begged permission to return to Jerusalem to look after his ailing wife, the former wife of Amaury. Saladin wasn’t heartless, and allowed Balian to go.

Balian arrived in Jerusalem to find chaos. He placed himself in charge, as he was the highest ranking officer. He then proceeded to fortify the city in preparation for a possible siege. Saladin arrived at the Mount of Olives on September 26th. Balian held the city till September 30th, when he and Saladin finally agreed to come to terms and Balian surrendered the city to Saladin. The Crusaders left the city of Jerusalem, their capitol, to the armies of Saladin, thirty days later.”  http://www.medievalcrusades.com/kingsofjerusalem.htm

An associated aspect of the Crusades was the attack on European Jews along on the way.  One account of a massacre in Germany reads:  “As soon as the enemy came into the courtyard they found some of the very pious there with our brilliant master, Isaac ben Moses. He stretched out his neck, and his head they cut off first. The others, wrapped by their fringed praying­shawls, sat by themselves in the courtyard, eager to do the will of their Creator. They did not care to flee into the chamber to save themselves for this temporal life, but out of love they received upon themselves the sentence of God. The enemy showered stones and arrows upon them, but they did not care to flee, and [Esther 9:5] “with the stroke of the sword, and with slaughter, and destruction” the foe killed all of those whom they found there. When those in the chambers saw the deed of these righteous ones, how the enemy had already come upon them, they then cried out, all of them: “There is nothing better than for us to offer our lives as a sacrifice.” [The outnumbered Jews had no chance to win: Emico is reported to have had about 12,000 men.]

The women there girded their loins with strength and slew their sons and their daughters and then themselves. Many men, too, plucked up courage and killed their wives, their sons, their infants. The tender and delicate mother slaughtered the babe she had played with, all of them, men and women arose and slaughtered one another. The maidens and the young brides and grooms looked out of the Windows and in a loud voice cried: ‘Look and see, O our God, what we do for the sanctification of Thy great name in order not to exchange you for a hanged and crucified one….'”  http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/1096jews-mainz.html