The Thirteen Treasures of Britain

Dyrnwyn, the flaming sword, lost for centuries beneath the earth. A hamper that feeds a hundred, a knife to serve twenty-four, A chariot to carry a man on the wind, A halter to tame any horse he might wish. The cauldron of the Giant to test the brave, A whetstone for deadly sharpened swords, An entertaining chess set, A crock and a dish, each to fill one’s every wish, A cup that bestows immortality on those worthy of it, And the mantle of Arthur. His healing sword descends; Our enemies flee our unseen and mighty champion. –Taliesin, The Thirteen Treasures, The Black Book of Gwynedd I wrote that poem (on behalf of Taliesin) for my Last Pendragon Saga, but it has deep roots in Celtic mythology. When JK Rowling talks about the deathly hallows in the Harry Potter books, she is giving a Read more…

The History of Chester

The City of Chester is the first stop of our Wales Odyssey!  We began with a tour of the walls, which were begun when the city was called ‘Deva’, and fortified by the Romans.   “The Roman military presence at Chester probably began with a fort or marching camp at the mouth of the Deva Fluvius (River Dee) very likely established during the early campaigns of governor Publius Ostorius Scapula against the Deceangi in north-east Wales sometime around AD47/48. There is some evidence of pre-Flavian occupation, possibly even a timber-built fort, but proof positive of a Scapulan foundation has yet to emerge. After the first tentative forays of Scapula, the next military activity in the area was conducted during the early administration of governor Sextus Julius Frontinus sometime around AD74 when an auxiliary fort was constructed at Chester. The placement of this fort was a strategic move by Frontinus Read more…

Medieval Siege Weapons

Within the world of medieval warfare, there were multiple kinds of siege weapons:  ballistas, battering rams, trebuchets, and catapults.  ‘Catapult’ can be used as a more general term for all throwing siege weapons:  “Catapults are siege engines using an arm to hurl a projectile a great distance. Any machine that hurls an object can be considered a catapult, but the term is generally understood to mean medieval siege weapons. The name is derived from the Greek ‘to hurl a missle’.  Originally, “catapult” referred to a stone-thrower, while “ballista” referred to a dart-thrower, but the two terms swapped meaning sometime in the fourth century AD. Catapults were usually assembled at the site of a siege, and an army carried few or no pieces of it with them because wood was easily available on site. Catapults can be classified according to the Read more…