The Brut Chronicle — Trinity College Library, Cambridge (Reblog)

The Brut – also known as the English Chronicle – was a popular history of England in the medieval period. It is the earliest known prose history of Britain and traces the country’s mythical origins. The Brut’s contemporary popularity is demonstrated by the fact that it survives in the original Anglo-Norman (the French dialect of […]

The Brut Chronicle — Trinity College Library, Cambridge

Selkirkshire, Scotland, UK; February 2, 1997 — UFO Network (Reblog)

Date of Sighting: 02-Feb-97 14:25 Location of Sighting: Selkirk, Selkirkshire Brief Description of sighting: Mirror like object. It was flickering.

Selkirkshire, Scotland, UK; February 2, 1997 — UFO Network

Invergowrie, Scotland, UK; February 1, 2000 — UFO Network (Reblog)

Date of Sighting: 01-Feb-00 Location of Sighting: Invergowrie, Angus Brief Description of sighting: Slow moving lights. They moved from the North to the South and then stopped.

Invergowrie, Scotland, UK; February 1, 2000 — UFO Network

Brexit Delivered, January 1 2021 — Great Britain Goes It Alone? Astrology Musings

Free Chart 100%

After four and a half years of bitter debate and seemingly endless negotiation, the United Kingdom finally — effectively — leaves the European Union on January 1 2021, quitting both the single market and customs union.

This chart set for midnight on New Year’s Day, the moment the country leaves, to my mind encapsulates the situation and the choices for this newly independent, offshore island.

What stands out is the close opposition between a Leo Moon and the Jupiter Saturn conjunction in Aquarius along the 5th/11th house axis. This is part of a near T square involving Mars but especially Uranus in Taurus in the 8th house.

New Opportunities

The Moon is also the ruler of the MC, another indicator of government and the country’s aims. There is a great amount of tension and pent up energy and dynamism here, which could potentially be explosive politically and economically.

Nevertheless, here too is the opportunity for a new beginning; the people will wish for more self determination as a response to the restrictions of 2020, and the prospect of a fresh approach in regard to our ideals and running our political and financial institutions — ourselves and the way we use money.

New Parties — Politics Transformed?

The country as a whole will begin to feel more confident, speculative and patriotic but in surprising ways.

New, or transformed political parties are likely to emerge and perhaps make an immediate impact, such will be the appetite of the people for a fresh, egalitarian and more local approach to politics. Following 2020, I think the people will trust central government less and will want to run their own affairs more closely.

The journey is clearly not going to be easy, however. With Uranus in Taurus, financial affairs are generally chaotic all over the world. In the 8th house of this chart, the UK’s ability to control the situation and steer a steady course is limited, bringing shocks and surprises through unravelling events the country inherits from other areas out of its control.

Read All The Small Print

Venus, the ruler of the chart, is in Sagittarius in the third house separating from a tricky aspect to dissolute Neptune in the sixth. So whilst there is a clear need for freedom of approach in general terms, there will also be much deception and false hope, which should advise the government and the people to read all the small print of any new deals and alliances.

The trade deal announced with the EU on Christmas Eve, which is due to be debated in Parliament, needs to be examined closely. Other trade deals are likely to be more straightforward and will represent great opportunities for building the foundations of a brighter future, as seen symbolised by the Great Conjunction in Aquarius in the 5th house.

Steady As She Goes

The Sun and Mercury in Capricorn in the fourth house may help to ground the country’s approach with some realism, especially as Mercury is applying to a positive aspect to Neptune, hopefully indicating that the government will have enough wits about it to read the situation more clearly, be forewarned.

However, with Pluto’s continued presence in Capricorn, the overall political situation remains distorted and dangerous, threatening the fabric and foundation of the country and the world.

I think January 1 2021 represents the ‘good ship’ Britannia’s new voyage into uncharted waters. Steady as she goes might be the apt advise to the captain. It will be a bit of a rocky journey, though not without opportunity; we are already seeing this in the number of trade deals in the offing. The future certainly favours the brave, but do we have the right people at the helm?

Copyright Francis 2020

On This Day December 16 — The Boston Tea Party

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On December 16 1773, the incident we now know as ‘The Boston Tea Party‘ occurred.

This was a protest against the East India Company’s recently legalised trade monopoly and the tax on tea. It was carried out by furious American patriots in Boston Harbor, who, dressing themselves as Mohawk Indians, stormed East India Company vessels and threw more than three hundred chests of tea into the freezing waters.

This famous incident followed the passing of the Tea Act in the British Parliament in London, earlier in 1773. This was designed to aid the supposedly struggling East India Company at the British colonies’ expense — an act which was to have severe and momentous consequences in the long term.

Copyright Francis 2020

On This Day 2019, Boris Landslide — But What a Difference a Year Makes

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It is only a year since Boris Johnson won a big 80 seat majority in the UK General Election, promising to ‘get Brexit done’.

Whilst Brexit appears to be basically achieved, it is still unclear as to the nature of Britain’s relationship with the EU following our exit.

But of course, this has been an extraordinary year for other reasons. The government’s, and in particular the Prime Minister’s handling of events of this year, have come under much critical scrutiny.

I don’t recall any government with such a majority ever falling from grace so quickly. It is difficult to see it recovering, even in the long term. For whilst there does not have to be another general election for four years, I think that the present paradigm of political parties have run their course.

In my opinion, the winner of the next election, which may not be that far away despite the governments majority, will likely be the leader of new party.

Copyright Francis 2020

On This Day 1936 — Edward VIII Talks to the Nation and the World

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On this day in 1936 the instrument of the abdication of King Edward VIII was endorsed by the Westminster parliament in London.

Later on the same day, Edward spoke to the nation and the world via radio, his faltering voice revealing the deep sadness he felt, that could not fulfill his kingly duties and at the same time marry the woman that he loved, the American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

Never formally crowned King, his younger brother, George VI would be coronated the following year. Edward, known as ‘David’ to intimates, would spend the rest of his life in exile with his wife, taking the title ‘Duke of Windsor’. He died in 1972 in Paris.

Copyright Francis 2020

December 11 1931 — The Statute of Westminster

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In one of its more significant and, in fact, truly historic moves, the Westminster parliament in London approved the Statute of Westminster on this day, December 11 1931.

Whilst largely forgotten today, this act effectively began the major phase of reducing the power and reach of the British Empire, marking the beginning of the Commonwealth. The dominions of Canada, Newfoundland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Ireland were granted equal status and full autonomy, whilst still adhering allegiance to the Crown of Great Britain.

A lot has changed since then; Newfoundland is now a province of Canada (Newfoundland and Labrador since March 31 1949), for example. The Republic of Ireland is truly independent, whilst within the bounds of the EU.

Even the integrity of Great Britain itself has come under threat with strong nationalist movements in Wales and particularly Scotland.

Time will tell if the United Kingdom breaks apart, or re-constitutes itself, once outside the of the EU.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

Brexit Precedents: Hell Hath No Fury! Boudica & Britishness

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Since the end of June 2016 when the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, Brexit has been a gaping wound in Britain’s and Europe’s body politic.

This controversial phenomenon has not only divided opinion and saturated headlines in Great Britain but frequently made the news worldwide too, especially in regard to some of the more unseemly behaviour in Britain’s much vaunted ‘Queen of Parliaments’. Not even the advent of the corona virus in the late winter of this year (2020) could dispel the ongoing saga of Britain’s often toxic negotiations with Brussels from the media. As things stand the United Kingdom will leave the EU at the end of the year — with or without a deal.

What is interesting to students of the extant historical record, is that Brexit marks one more incidence of the British (and particularly the English) people’s often strained relationship with continental European politicians and institutions, a factor which often threatens the unity within the United Kingdom too.

An Island Mentality

Intrigued, I began to look back in history to search for the first incidence of this ‘phenomenon’. When and why did it begin? Is it simply a matter of Britain being an island, physically separated from the continent, creating what is often called an ‘island mentality’? I think this would be a far too simplistic explanation, although clearly one would expect a recognisably different culture to develop in a more remote geographic location such as Britain, especially when travelling was more difficult.

Great Britain became an island some time after the Ice Age or Pleistocene era ended and the Holocene began. One could argue that this was the original geographical Brexit, setting the scenic context upon which all later human political dramas were to play out.

It seems to me that the first popularly known occurrence of a nascent sense of Britishness stems back to the first century AD in the person we now know as Boudica, formerly Boadicea. By Britishness I do not mean it in the modern sense, of course. There was no nation of Britain, no England back then. The idea of the nation state was still more than a millennium into the future. 

Freeing the Yoke

However this rather infamous punctuation in British history seems to encapsulate something essentially to do with independence, a sense of wishing to be free from the yoke of abusive foreign rule. To give a more recent example, I am sure that many Americans still look back favourably to the Boston Tea Party as something which epitomized the unacceptable face of colonialism, to the point where feelings boil over, resulting in more drastic measures being taken.

The events to which I now refer occurred in the early years of Roman Britain. The period of Roman rule of Britain is quite clearly defined in the record. Julius Caesar had attempted invasion twice a century before, in 55 and 54 BC and ultimately failed to subdue the country, leaving no legions behind.

It is often implied that the British of that time were nothing more than some rag tag collection of ‘Celtic’ tribes, wholly inferior militarily and culturally to Caesar and his legions. Obviously this was not true; what the British lacked was not so much cultural sophistication but perhaps Roman political guile and ambition of never ending conquest. 

It was the Emperor Claudius who successfully invaded Britain in AD 43, marking the beginning of the province of Britannia, which, interestingly, never permanently included what we now call Scotland.

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Establishing Romanisation

By AD 60 it would appear that Roman rule was getting well established. The Britain the Romans were occupying constituted a series of kingdoms, perhaps broadly similar to what is called the Heptarchy of later Anglo-Saxon England. The Romans had a long established method of ruling which involved so-called client kingdoms, where the ruler was nominally independent, yet subservient to the Emperor. It was a way of avoiding spending too much time and resources on outright military conquest. Each ruler was encouraged to accept Romanisation and all the cultural benefits this civilisation allegedly brought with it, thereby becoming a beacon for what some called Pax Romana.

The system appeared to be working reasonably well until a certain king, Prasutagus of the Iceni tribe, who were centred around what is now the county of Norfolk in East Anglia, died around AD 60. His will apparently left the kingdom to his two daughters and the Roman Emperor, who happened to be Nero. However, the will appears to have been ignored and the kingdom illegally seized, Prasutagus’ grieving wife and queen, Boudica, was flogged and her two daughters raped, at least according to the Roman historian Tacitus, although Dio Cassius states that the dispute arose through the withdrawal of loans. He also mentions two cities being devastated, not three, which is clearly an error. It is difficult to envisage the sheer swiftness and vehemence of Boudica’s reaction as being in response to a ‘mere’ financial matter.

Brutal Response

So whatever the actual cause of the revolt, it is quite clear the Roman authorities in Britain were not expecting Boudica, the Iceni, the Trinovantes and other British tribes, to respond in the violent and brutal manner they did. Queen Boudica, at least according to Dio Cassius, would seem to have been quite an astonishing presence:

“she was huge of frame, terrifying of aspect, and with a harsh voice. A great mass of bright red hair fell to her knees: She wore a great twisted golden necklace, and a tunic of many colors, over which was a thick mantle, fastened by a brooch. Now she grasped a spear, to strike fear into all who watched her…”  – Dio Cassius

Even allowing for a little exaggeration in the above description, she was clearly no pushover. Even today, nearly two millennia later, East Anglia in eastern England has a strong regional identity, a distinct cultural life and accent, not always enamoured with the prognostications of central government only a hundred miles away. Whether East Anglia still produces such women of renown, however, is open to question. 

Chariots and Woad

Unfortunately, we do not know the details of how Boudica organised herself militarily, but as a young British noblewoman she would have been familiar in the arts of war. Within a short space of time the sense of injustice and mounting anger against Roman misrule led to the formation of an army of immense size.

We do know that the ancient British had long used the chariot in battle and that they covered themselves in blue woad, to give that distinctive, terrifying appearance. Whilst the Roman army is rightly considered virtually peerless, it is quite clear that the British chariot would have been very effective too.

Very quickly, Boudica appears to have identified key sites for attack, the first being Camulodunum, or present day Colchester, which was the original capital city of the new province. This is where the temple to the Emperor Claudius, the conqueror of Britain, was established and in Boudica’s eyes would surely have represented a strike at the heart of the oppressor.

London Abandoned

Unfortunately for the Romans the then governor, Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, was hundreds of miles away on important campaign against the Druids in what is now north west Wales on the isle of Anglesey, or Mona. Although Suetonius immediately scurried back towards London when he heard of the attack, he had insufficient army numbers to defend the city, toward which Boudica’s huge host was relentlessly heading.

A part of the Roman Legio lX HIspana were the only troops who stood in Boudica’s way and were swiftly dealt with, leaving London resigned to its fate. Those who could escape the newly founded commercial capital would have done so. Those who remained were shown no mercy whatsoever.

Following this, the victorious British army, obviously fired up with bloodlust, marched northward towards Verulamium, present day St. Albans in Hertfordshire, to carry on their serial rape, torture, murder and arson. The city was reduced to ashes like London and Colchester before it. Once again, governor Suetonius could only step aside whilst he began to muster enough troops to face the British rebels in an open pitch battle.

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The Final Battle

Now whilst it may not be proven, for other sites must be considered, the location of this battle is thought to have been at present day Mancetter in the English West Midlands. Probably luring the now over confident British army to a battlefield of his own choice, Suetonius’ much smaller force were decisively victorious, ending the short but brutal rebellion. Boudica allegedly killed herself, though we can’t be entirely sure. Historian Dio Cassius stated that she died through illness. The number of Britons who died on that day must have been enormous. Those killed in London, Colchester and St. Albans would have been even more.

The Emperor Nero did briefly consider withdrawing Roman troops from the province, yet the decisive nature of Suetonius’s victory prevented this. The revolt, whilst provoking a great deal of initial suppression from the Roman authorities, would also have tempered their rule in the long run.

The Epitome of British Resolve?

Boudica has become the stuff of British legend, with a well known statue of her and her violated daughters now standing in London. Indeed it was the Victorians, who built that statue, who did most to resurrect her memory and status, a reminder that the suppressed will only take so much before taking up arms themselves. When the Roman legions were finally withdrawn, 350 years later, it was at their own behest, not through the forces of insurrection. 

Queen Boudica’s rebellion ultimately failed, yet traces of its brutality still remain to this day. Although she must have taken up arms initially to seek revenge for her own and her daughters’ defamation, she has become a British heroine, the epitome of some spirit which is uniquely… well, British. It is a spirit which is continually under threat, yet nevertheless periodically renewed. Brexit, whatever one’s opinion of it, is simply the latest incarnation of that ‘bulldog spirit’ which represents Great Britain — at least in part.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

There are many books about Roman Britain.

The origin of the giant sarsen stones at Stonehenge has finally been discovered with the help of a missing piece of the site which was returned after… (Reblog)

Last year archaeologists pinpointed the origin of many of the ancient monument’s massive stones. A new study identifies the source of the rest. A …

The origin of the giant sarsen stones at Stonehenge has finally been discovered with the help of a missing piece of the site which was returned after…

A New Study Assesses the Prehistoric Acoustics of Stonehenge. (Reblog)

Researchers created a 3D-printed scale model and broadcast ‘chirps’ at different frequencies When Stonehenge was intact, the acoustics were more like…

A New Study Assesses the Prehistoric Acoustics of Stonehenge.