Welcome to this first great preview of Arthurian: Total War. We will present you today one of our already favorite factions, the faction of Arthur, also known as Dumnonia:
Preface for all British factions - In the earliest mentions of the islands, they are called 'Prettani', and the inhabitants the 'Pretanes' or 'Pretanni'; the 'Tin Men' due to the high amount of tin exported from the isle to both Phoenicians and Greeks. Conquerors from Gaul spread into Britain, conquering the natives, and bringing Celtic culture, with skills like iron working and early development of medicines. Their culture either violently or by assimilation spread throughout the islands, creating a variety of British-Celtic tribes. Much of the indigenous culture was presumably exterminated or absorbed. The island was always divided between various tribes. The south was eventually mostly subjugated to the Cassi tribe, who evolved into the Catuvellauni. This powerful tribe exerted control over the various Gallic and Belgic tribes that inhabited the south, as well as, possibly, the early Brythonic tribes in the midlands.
As the Romans conquered Gaul and Belgica, many fled to Britain for aide, bolstering this southern kingdom. The south of Britain had always been closer to Gaul and Belgica; the southeast built oppida instead of hillforts, and had larger centralized populations and cities. The whole of the south spoke Gallic and fought in the Gallic manner. The Romans were actually somewhat fearful of invasion due to the military might of the southern British post-20 BC, and had actually begun to plan for a potential invasion of Gaul from the Britons. Such an invasion was presumably going to be driven back, but the risk was not desirable.
The Romans had not faced real Celtic armies in decades, with the exception of a handful of broken, small armies in Gaul, already broken apart between the two main power players vying for Gallic control, and brief skirmishes in Britain under Caesar, though even that was during a transition of power. In Gaul, the Aedui, Roman allies, and the Arverni/Sequanes, Roman enemies, originally held control over most of Gaul's tribes, and had been fighting a centuries long civil war for rule of Gaul. The Aedui invited aide from Romans after the Germans began to invade, but their own senate couldn't agree on this invitation, and ultimately dissolved; much of Gaul fell under the defacto control of Rome over night, due to the Aedui Confederacy's nobles that were loyal to the Roman alliance. Their armies continued to engage the Sequanes until all was spent, and the Romans peacefully absorbed the remainder of their allies into the empire, and used their own armies to put down the tattered remnants of the Gallic armies and the riotous mobs raised by Vercingetorix, though even that came at a price.
The Romans, while later disdainful of Celts, had, at the time, a healthy respect, and even vague fear of Celtic warfare at times. This was the large impetus for concern with a unified power in Britain; even if the armies weren't that large, it was still a well-defended island with numerous forts, as well as desirable resources. The key to invasion came from political dissent in the south; some nobles welcomed an alliance with Rome, and others declared the Romans their enemies, out of concern for the conquest of Gaul. This discord would eventually be to the advantage of Rome.
The crowning moment in this preparedness against invasion was during the reign of the vehemently anti-Roman, and very powerful, King Cunobelin. Roman garrisons intensified along the northern coast in readiness for an invasion. However, the invasion never came. Cunobelin fell ill, and died. His three sons, two anti-Roman, and one pro-Roman, while not elected as the next kings, were still very powerful in British politics.
However, Togodumnus and Caratacus, the anti-Roman sons, cast their younger, pro-Roman brother, Adminius, out of Britain, seizing his lands in what is now Kent. Along with him fled numerous other pro-Roman nobles, such as Verica of the Atrebates. Other pro-Romans were arrested or forced into hiding. Those who escaped appealed to the Romans, failing to gain much sympathy or enough support at first, until Adminius and Verica appealed to Emperor Claudius in person. Having several powerful Roman friends, Verica was aware of Claudius's reputation as a weak emperor, and gave him the pretext to take Britain 'in the name of his allies' to demonstrate his strength.
When the Roman invasion began, Togodumnus had come to power as king. However, he died in the first battle of the invasion, and his brother Caratacus claimed kingship, though, so did Aminius, albeit aware that he was just a face for Roman power in Britain. The success of the Romans in their initial invasion drew the pro-Roman nobles from hiding, and allowed them to raise their own local armies to assist the Romans; among the most notable were the entire sub-kingdoms of the Trinovantes and Dumnones coming to Roman aide. Caratacus was driven into the midlands, where he continued his war against the Romans.
Caratacus, though, was driven from there, and fled to the kingdom of the Brigantes. The queen of Brigantia, Cartimandua, was a supporter of the Romans though, and had Caratacus arrested and handed over to the Romans, where he was taken to Rome as a prize of the war, and awaited his ritual execution.
So respected was he though, amongst Britons and Romans alike, he was taken before the Roman senate, and Emperor Claudius, before his execution. The real speech is lost, though Tacitus recorded a version of it, which ends with; "If you want to rule the world, does it follow that everyone else welcomes enslavement?" Whatever he really said, it convinced the emperor to spare him. With Caratacus defeated, the only remaining genuine foe was Venetius, who seized control of Brigantia from his ex-wife Cartimandua. Upon Venetius's death, Brigantia was seized by the Romans, and years of war and sporadic raids from Caledonians would begin.
Britain was effectively a Roman dominion. However, problems in other parts of the empire slowly allowed the defenses of Roman Britain to deteriorate. The Picts came into existence, and allied themselves with the king of the Gaels, who promptly began raids and invasion, and helped arm the Picts, making their own raids substantially more destructive. Even as such events were driven back, they could never be fully stopped, and Britain quickly became a liability. Germanic incursions in the empire clinched it, and the Romans abandonned the island to its own devices. The British tribes, never as fully Romanized as Gauls, recobbled themselves into numerous small kingdoms under Roman or Romano-British lords. Northern Britons, Picts, Angles, Saxons, and Gaels carved out more kingdoms in Britain, taking advantage of the weakened Romano-British. The island was utterly fractured between a huge number of warring powers, both local and foreign. Germanic invaders drove some to flee the island, and invade Brittany, setting up even more petty kingdoms. The war for Britain was, as such, a massive, fractured affair between dozens of minor powers, trying to carve out a land for their clans, kingdoms, and tribes.
Britain was weakened after Maximus Magnus left. This great general took most the British legions with him, landed in Gaul and killed Gratien, the Western Emperor, and then was proclaimed by his troops as the new Emperor. In a fatal error though, he attack Rome. Theodosius, the Eastern Emperor, defeated him, and Maximus was finally executed in 388 AD. His army was told to protect northern Gaul, it was the first installation of Britons in Armorica. In 408 AD, another Roman general, Constantine tried the same, and this left Britain without any legion to protect it. The emperor Honorius told the Britons to defend themselves in 410 AD. Britons however staid mostly Roman and Christian in mind, despite of still observing lot of Celtic customs and speaking Celtic languages, though heavily influenced in many respects by Latin.
Around 420-450 AD, power in Britain was divided between Coel Hen, Dux Bellorum of North Britain, based at Caer Ebrauc, the ancient Eboracum, capitol of the Legions, and the High King Vortigern. Vortigern invited the Jut Hengist to settle in the Isle of Tanet, and to help the Britons against Picts and Gaels. Vortigern himself marry Rowenna, Hengist's daughter. But the Germans soon rebelled and a great battle is fought at Aylesford in 455 AD. The forces both parlayed to find a compromise, and to celebrate peace they would met at Stonehenge for a great feast, without weapons. However, the Jutes commited treason and killed the 300 Briton chiefs who had nothing to defend themselves with. Vortigern was captured and forced to give the whole of Kent or Cantware to Hengist. Vortimer, Vortigern's son, led an army against Hengist but he was defeated and killed at Crayford, in 457 AD.
Soon after, Ambrosius Aurelianus, also known as Emrys Gwledig, rose against Vortigern with part of the Britons. He besieged Vortigern in Gwynedd, and it's said that Vortigern finally burned in his fortress of Dynas Emrys. Ambrosius became the high king of the Britons, contending the Juts and the Saxons, and settled some dynasties in Western Armorica which would eventually become Brittany. Ambrosius was probably the same character as Riothamus, recorded, as fighting Euric's Visigoths in Gaul for the Romans, his legendary brother and maybe the commander of his cavalry (Magister Equitum, Pen-dragon) was Uther. Ambrosius seemed to have been poisoned by Pasgen, one of the remaining sons of Vortigern, around 469 AD, and his brother probably died in the same way soon after.
Is Arthur the son of Uther? Some historians claim that Arthur didn't exist at all. Some other claim he was only a warlord, and not a king. He is also identified with lot of petty kings, named Arthur, Arthuis or Arthwyr, common names in the VIth century. The main lack about Arthur is historical sources. The only Briton text we have from Arthur's period is St. Gildas 'De Excidio Brittaniae'. Gildas speak about Ambrosius, about Badon Hill, and about various kings, his 'tyrants', but not about Arthur himself. Later sources, such as Nennius's 'Historia Brittonum', written in the IXth century, the Welsh Annals or Geoffrey of Monmouth 'Historia Regnum Brittanae', and of course Welsh and Briton legends, tell us about Arthur. Nennius list 12 battles fought by Arthur, and the Welsh Annals mention the victory of Badon in 516 AD and the death of Arthur at Camlann in 537 AD. However, those texts didn't mention clearly who Arthur was. We have choosen to portray him as the son of Uther, and the cousin of Gereint of Dumnonia. There are also recently discovered Irish sources, speaking about a Briton king named Arghair, once a chief in a southern kingdom of Britain, then rose to kingship of 'the south', and then the king of all Britain, and allied to Irishmen. Following our theory, Arthur was born around 455-465 AD, and after a civil war he became the Amherawddyr, Imperator, Dux Bellorum, High-King or simply military leader of all the Britons. He won a series of victories against Picts, Angles and Saxons across all Britain, to his final victory of Badon Hill, probably in 496 AD. This victory stopped the Saxon advance in Western Britain for around 50 years, though the Saxons and Angles took some major cities in East and South Britain, leading to another civil war and the battle of Camlann, possibly fought in 532 AD, where Arthur was killed by his nephew and rival Medrawt. This was the end of a united Britain.
The fight for Britain wasn't over yet. If in the south, Dyfneint lost the battle of Deorham in 570 AD, the fight would be hard for Wessex to take them over, and Exeter, Dyfneint capital, is only taken in 938 AD. Most of middle Britain fell to Angles in the VIth century, as well as the strong kingdom of Ebrauc, weakened by wars with other Britons. A northern coalition, led by Urien Rheged, was next to be destroyed as the Angles conquered lands in Northern Britain, when the king Morcant Bulc of Bryneich, once Urien's ally, order the assassination of Urien, this leading to the dissolution of the alliance and the fall of Rheged. Around 620 AD, Ceretic the king of Elmet was beaten by the rising Northumbrian power. Gododdin's capital, Din Eidyn, fell to Northumbria in 638 AD. In the second half of the VIIth century, most of ancient Briton kingdoms had been replaced by the new powers of Wessex, Mercia and Northumbria. In the North, Alcluyd is still standing, and will only be incorporated to Scotland's kingdom in the XIth century. The Western Britons began to call themselves 'Cymry', meaning 'Comrades', while being named Wealas, foreigners by the Saxons that stole their land. In the south, Dumnonia, now called Cornwall, still fight against Wessex, and across the sea, the Britons of Brittany, or Bretons, became a rival power of the powerful Franks.
The Dumnonii, during the second Roman invasion, were subjects of the Catuvellauni. However, when their exiled king was returned by the Romans to his seat at Isca, having earlier been banished for pro-Roman views, the kingdom was indepedent, and proceeded swiftly to ally with the Romans, providing British soldiers to help the Roman invasion. They exercised an amount of indepedence, or even possibly near-total indepedent rule, despite being Roman subjects. Locally produced weapons and armor were still prevalent under Roman rule, so a formal, tight alliance seems somewhat likely, as Roman subjects were not generally allowed to raise their own soldiers, though the possibility of some manner of auxilia locally raised is likely too. In any event, they were a stable, well-organized kingdom, and when the Romans withdrew, Dumnonia, composed of the lands of Dyfneint and Cornubia, was quite stable.
In any event, the kingdom was reestablished officially around 290 AD as semi-indepedent. However, it was clearly influenced culturally by the Romans, and some manner of prigomeniture was introduced, in place of Celtic tanistry. The first of these new kings was Caradoc or Caratacus, named after the king who had fought the Romans, and was, even in Roman Britain, considered a hero by the Britons and Romans both. He was the advisor of Eudaf Hen in Gwent. Rule in Brittany was also apparent, and his successor, his grandson-in-law, Conan Meriadoc took the title of king of Britanny, and gave Dumnonia to his eldest son, by Ursula, Gadeon, or Cadfan, who was a vassal of Magnus Maximus. Conan became general after Maximus died, and was originally given the territory of Brittany, and much of the rest of northern Gaul, on orders to defend it from the barbarians.
Around 435 AD, Constantine, or Custennyn, came to power, and he eventually split the kingdom between his two sons, between Dyfneint for Erbin, and Cornubia or Kernow for Merchion. Erbin abdicated in favor of his first son, Gereint Llyngesog ab Erbin. Gereint Llyngesog, and his brother Dywel, father of St. Pirran, legendarily served with Arthur. Gereint is legendarily also the cousin of Arthur, and was likely his vassal, as Arthur would have been Amherawddyr, the king of Britain, and likely from Dyfneint himself. This would mean that Gereint would not have been the actual king until Arthur had died. However, Gereint possibly died at Llongporth in 508, though it also may been later, around 520, as it may have actually been Dywel to die at Llongporth, meaning the death dates are confused.
It is possible Arthur himself was from Dumnonia. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Arthur was concieved at Tintagel, part of what is modern Cornwall. While his place of birth is unmentioned, it is assumed he was born and raised there. However, Tintagel castle as it stands today is not nearly that old; rather, the original castle was built in the mid 1100s, and the extensions in the 1200s. However, the island itself was indeed inhabitted in Arthur's day, and not only in a slight sense. Aside from the seventy or more medieval stone buildings, there are dark age stone and turf structures, filled with mediterranean pottery from the 5th and 6th century; more such pottery than is found in all the rest of Britain. In the mid 5th century, this position was fortified, and in 1998, a slate plaque, with a Latin inscription, reads 'Artognou father of Coll had this building made'; Artognou being a form of Arthur. This region was an important trade site, and the fortifications reveal it was a fortress, and potentially the seat of his power. This would mean Arthur, not Gereint, was king of Dumnonia, and likely applied to him more of a governorship, until either Arthur or Gereint died.
Arthur would have then likely become the Amherawddyr, High King or Imperator, of Britain. This put him in the position to have strong influence in all the Brythonic kingdoms, in both Britain and Brittany, and the power to led all Britons against their foes, in a series of victories against Picts, Angles and Saxons. His greatest victory was Badon Hill, most likely fought around 496 AD. Although St. Gildas doesn't record Arthur as the Briton's commander in this battle, later sources such as Nennius and Irish evidence, not yet very well known, do. The most probable theory is that Arthur stopped the Saxon army led by Aelle around Caer Baddan, now modern Bath. This clearly stopped Germanic offensives against Britons for about 50 years. Arthur is also likely to have been allied with Irish kingdoms, and Gaels record that a great British king 'from the south' died fighting the Picts in helping Dal Raida; the same king was said to have ruled all of Britain. This king may have been Arthur - despite it is also often believed that Arthur died fighting his rival Medrawt in a civil war, at Camlann around 532 AD, maybe Medrawt was allied with those Picts. After him, no king would be strong enough to unite the Britons against the Angles and Saxons, except Urien of Rheged in the late VIth century.
Dyfneint also exerted a strong protectorate in Brittany, on continental Dumnonia, or Domnonée. This territory was given to the Britons by the Franks in 497 AD, and Riwallon, a prince of Dyfneint, settled there. Most Britons settlers in Brittany probably came from Dyfneint and southern kingdoms, such as Gwent or Dyfed.
Geraint's dynasty seemed to reclaim power in Dyfneint, under his son Cado, and probably after him Constantine Corneu, recorded by Gildas as one of the tyrants of Britain. Justinian's plague affected southern Britain, but not Saxons, and seeing their enemy weaken, the Saxons retook the offensive. Cerdic of Wessex had already sized a little part of Dyfneint, around Venta Belgarum, modern Winchester, and Ynys Weith. In 552 AD, Cealwin take Old Sarum and the plain of Salisbury. A terrible strike was given to the Britons, at Deorham, north of Bath, in 577 AD. The Britons were beaten by Cealwin, and 3 of their kings were killed there. The Saxons took the control of three important cities, Caer Baddan (Bath), Caer Gloui (Gloucester) and Caer Ceri (Cirencester), and separating Dyfneint from Gwent and the other Briton kingdoms. However, Dyfneint didn't fall. It became known as Kernyw, or Cornwall, probably after the name the Saxons give to Dyfneint's Britons, the Corn-o-Wealas, and the foreigners of the south. Cornwall capital, Caer Uisc, modern Exeter, fell to Wessex in 711 AD, but the city was retaken in 722 AD after the victory of River Camel. Finally Exeter fell to Wessex in 938 AD, and the Britons of Cornwall were cantoned to a small territory at the west of the Tamar River. William's Normans conquered them soon after Hastings, but today Cornwall stays Brythonic in her mind.
Now we show you a part of the Dumonian army:
Aulue (Town Militia)
It was a legal obligation for all men over a certain age to fight when required in Briton kingdoms, indeed most, if not all, saw it as a great privilage and were eager for battle. Many kept their own weapons so men could be rapidly form militia units (or Aulue) when their kingdom needed their service. They often fought surprisingly well, but were quick to turn tail and run if things were going badly. Briton militia units were neither well nor badly equipped and could hold their own in a fight, but a wise commander will note their limitations and not commit them against heavily armed elite troops.
Rherel (Heavy spearmen)
The spear was a very popular weapon in Britain, even with those who could afford swords instead. The well equiped retainers of the noble class carried both sword and spear into battle making them exceptionally versatile and a challenging adversary. The Rherel were the personal body guard of nobles or lesser nobles themselves, their elite rank and high status being identified by their red cloaks. Their employers wealth also meant they could afford the very best scale or chain mail armour available, on top of which they carried a round shield and wore a helmet. Being so heavily armed made this infantry unit a very deadly and unstoppable force in combat.
The Campwyrau were the champions of the Britons' armies. Although not always nobles, they were professional soldiers who, through their brave deeds on the field of battle, earned prestige, fame and wealth. This meant they were given or could afford state of the art weapons and armour. Expensive swords, intricately made and strong armour and their all round experience and ferocity made the Campwyrau dangerous opponents; more than a match for most other infantry and even cavalry. Any British general can rest assured that his Campwyrau will make a good accounting of themselves, and not to flee at the first sign of danger.
Literally mean ‘brave men’, the Arwrweision are the veterans of numerous battles, they are the non-noble elite of a British Chieftain’s army. It was considered an honour amongst Britons to be drafted into military service, so all able-bodied men had a weapon and were up for a fight. Carrying similar equipment to their fellow peasants, swords, bows and shields, the defining characteristic of the Arwrweision is that, although they share their comrade’s eagerness for battle, they don’t share their eagerness to run away.
The Saethwyr were peasant levies with a skill for archery. Skill with the bow was a way of life during the dark ages, particularly amongst the Britons. Hunting was a popular passtime and this developed the archery skills of the populace, at this time other sports were often banned in favour of archery practice. Archers were generally the mainstay of the armies of the Britons, the terrain of Britain suiting mobile ranged units far better than sluggish heavy infantry and cavalry. The Saethwre are equally adept at a guerilla role or as a ranged component of a larger army, but a commander would be wise to ensure that they avoid closer combat.
Marchogluoedd (Light cavalry)
Britain's wide variety of landscapes meant certain kingdoms, where the land was flatter and more horse-friendly, employed very cavalry oriented armies; the Marchogluoedd were the fast agile scouts of these armies. Riding the fastest horses their land could muster, these lightly armed and lightly armoured warriors would rush ahead of the main host peppering the enemies with javelins and making careful observations and reporting enemy positions to their commanders. These scouts wore no armour and carried no weapons apart from their javelins, which could of course act as improvised spears, as such they sould be kept as far away from combat as possible.
The Marca were the standard cavalry soldiers of Briton armies. Like almost all soldiery of the time, the Marca had to provide and maintain their own equipment, including their horse, meaning their ranks were generally made up of wealthy individuals who could afford such luxuries. They were well armed, carrying a round shield, sword, scale armour, helmet, and javelins; equipment similar to that of their Roman predecessor, the scutarii. The Marca fought as standard medium cavalry, moving forward, throwing their javelins and then charging while the enemy is in disarray. While they can cope with lightly armed troops, against more elite forces they may struggle.
Marchomawr (Heavy cavalry)
Britons were well known in the dark ages for their cavalry. In the poem 'y Gododdin', by the bard Aneurin, 300 British horsemen fought Angle invaders at Cathraeth in the kingdom of Gododdin and only one returned, Aneurin himself. The Machromawr are made up of men from the richest warrior households who can afford a good horse, a sword, a round shield, helm and chain mail or scale armour. These well armoured powerful horsemen make a formidable opponent, but must be commanded correctly to be truly devestating in battle.
The wealth, fertile soil and landscape of Dumnonia (modernday Devon, South West England) allowed the locals to breed horses that weren't just beasts of burden; they bred powerful warhorses and became renowned for their horsemanship in the field of battle. Dumnonia is supposedly the setting for Camelot and their cavalry no doubt inspiring the legends of Arthur and his knights (some even claim that Arthur was a Dumnonian warlord).
Our little surprise,
Now, an AAR to show you Arthur's army in action.
Cadwallon Lawhir of Gwynedd have rose against the power of the Amherawddyr and rejected his autority. He has received support from some Gaelic pirats. Arthur have gathered his army to punish this unrest, marching across Gwynedd.
Arthur, leading his cavalry.
The famous horsemen of Dumonia, riding to the battlefield.
Campwyrau and Rherels, elite warriors of Ynis Prydein.
Levies from southern Britain answered the call-to-arms of their warlord.
Light cavalry, covering the flanks.
Infantry forming the line.
The fight begin with Arthur's cavalry harassing the gaelic infantry with their javelins.
The Gaels are attacked on both side.
They break the fight and are slaughered.
Cadwallon launch his attack.
The Dumnonians march toward their foes.
Gwynedd Aulue under a shower of javelins.
Cavalry is clashing.
Archers opening the fire.
Cadwallon and his Teulu fighting the Dumnonians.
Melee is engaged.
Charged on both sides, the men of Gwynedd finally run away.
Arthur, once again, is victorious.
Arthurian: Total War team is:
Agraes - project leader & historical research
Ian_of_Smeg - mapping & historical research
Ranika - historical research - gaelic specialist
Thrashaholic - historical research - briton specialist
Vortigern - historical research - briton specialist
Spongly - historical research - saxon and pictish specialist
Blindfaithnogod (of the Byzantium TW team) - skinner/modeler
Hross - historical research - germanic specialist
Kscott-just merged his project Pax Brittania with this one-mappping/possibly skinning
Alcibiades of Athens - skinner/modeler
Professor S - symbol maker, skinner
Favre - skinner
Zhuge_Liang (of Troy: Total War) - skinner/modeler
Sher Khan - concept artist
Shrimpy (of Troy: Total War) - 3D animator
Special thanks to :
- Atheist Peace who make us a space on the Imperium forums
- BDH who give us a great map_heights of Britain
- Lusted and Atilla Reloaded for let us use their amazing Late Romans mods
- Dust for his gallic saddle model
- Pinarius for allowing us to use his wonderful horses
- Webbird for giving us the right to use his awesome celtic skins
- Promotheus for his spear blade models
- The Stranger for his unit layout
Note that those screenshots and descriptions are still WIP.
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And for the fans of Dyfneint: