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Chapter I New

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CHAPTER I

OF THE SITUATION OF BRITAIN AND IRELAND AT THE OUTSET OF THE BRITONNIC RENAISSANCE

Cultures.jpg
The distinct nations inhabiting the British Isles during the IX century AD​

These isles at present, following innumerable invasions and countless migrations, contain six nations, the Cumbri, English, Welsh (and the Cornish, being but a sub-group within the larger Welsh nation), Scots, Irish, and Norse, each in its own peculiar dialect cultivating the sublime study of Divine truth. This however was not always the case, with many other groups being lost to time, and others assimilated into a greater whole.

It was the Britons who first were masters of this land, inhabiting its fertile fields, mountainous passes, and luscious forests, from the Saxon Shore in the South, to the Orkney Islands in the North. This would all change as the Roman legions set out to conquer Britain in 43 AD, under orders of Emperor Claudius. It was here that the Latin invaders faced their greatest challenge yet, warring for nearly five decades against the brave peoples of Britain before finally subduing them into accepting rule from Rome. By the time of the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the 5th century, the native Britons had been pacified and disarmed by their Mediterranean overlords, with only a few pockets of resistance hanging on North of Hadrian’s and the Antonine walls, as the Picts proved to be a resilient thorn on the Roman which remained unconquered. The once ferocious Britons had been thoroughly Romanized, as well as become illuminated by the light of God and the warmth embrace of Christ. The once powerful warrior culture of the pre-Roman Britons had all but disappeared. This would prove disastrous as the withdrawal of the Legions gave the Irish (specifically the tribe of the Scottii), the Picts, and the Saxons much leeway to raid and pillage the land at their leisure, with little retaliation from the native Romano-Britons.

Britons.jpg
The Romano-Britons

It would be these Scotti and Picts that would eventually merge to form what we have come to known as the Scottish nation, or Albannaich in their native tongue, inhabiting the Northern reaches of Britain. The Saxons would not only raid defenseless Britain alongside the Picts and Scotti, but over time would come to serve as mercenaries for the upstart Brittonic Kingdoms that would occupy the vacuum left by the Roman retreat, fighting against the Scotti and Picts, and occasionally, against the Britons who hired their services. Over time more Saxons would follow their mercenary brethren, mostly farmers and refugees, settling on the Eastern coasts of Britain. They would in time be joined by other opportunistic Germanic peoples, like the Jutes and the Angles. These three Germanic peoples would eventually become the English nation, or Angelcynn in their native tongue.

Picts.png
The Pictish/Scottish peoples

Irish.jpg
The Irish peoples

These English invaders would establish a myriad of kingdoms, displacing and subjugating the native Britons who had inhabited the land for millennia. As these invaders conquered kingdom after kingdom, the Briton nation would eventually be broken up as the English conquered their way to the Irish Sea, with the Western Britons surviving in the hilly areas of what we’ve come to know as Wales (with a few in Cornwall as well), and the Northern Britons, prevailing in the lustrous Kingdom of Ystrad Clud. Being isolated from each other, these two groups would eventually develop different identities and cultures, eventually becoming the Welsh and Cumbric nations.

Saxons.jpg
The Anglo-Saxons

The last of the nations to arrive in our glorious land were the barbarous Norse, travelling from the Northern coasts of Scandinavia to pillage and raid the lands of Britain and Ireland, especially inflicting divine punishment unto the upstart English, razing their towns and brutalizing their people. It was these Norse “Vikings” that indirectly enabled the resurgence of the Briton nation, as the wise and powerful Kings of the Cumbri thrived in the chaos brought about by God to the heathenish English, in order to reclaim what was rightfully theirs.

Norse.jpg
The Norsemen
 
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HistoryDude

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Interesting introduction...

Subbed!
 

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Hey everyone, I'm back after a few months of disappearance. My house flooded a few months back, and I lost my laptop among other things, and thus lost the means to continue the previous AAR I was working on. This time I'll be telling the story of the Kingdom of Ystrad Clud, or Strathclyde, as is known in English, a Britonnic kingdom which managed to hold on against Scottish, English, and Norse invaders until the 11th century, before finally being annexed into Scotland. Hopefully Ystrad Clud will last a bit longer than that in this timeline ;). Anyways, thanks for reading!
 

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Good. I love these sorts of back from the brink stories. A shame you couldn't finish your previous AAR.
 

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Good luck
 
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CHAPTER II

HOW THE AMBITIOUS DRAGON-SLAYER FROM THE NORTH BECAME A TOOL THROUGH WHICH THE DIVINE BROUGHT RETRIBUTION UNTO THE ENGLISH

Kingdoms of Britain.png

The kingdoms of Britain in 867 AD

In the year of our lord 860, the legendary raider from the North, Ragnar “Shaggy Breeches,” son of the mythical king Sigurd Ring, invaded the realm of King Ælla, lands once known as Deifr and Brynaich, but known by the English as the Kingdom of Northumbria. The pagan Ragnar is claimed to have slayed a dragon on the forests of Götaland, and fathered five children known as Ivar “the Boneless,” Bjorn “Ironside,” Sigurd “Snake-in-the-Eyes,” Halfdan “White Shirt,” and Ubba. Whether this indeed occur is yet to be discovered, but Ragnar, or the fabrication known as Ragnar, is a central figure from which all Nordic kingdoms can trace their heritage to. The Northumbrian invasion of the dragon-slayer ended in disaster, for the worship of his false idols could not prevent his capture by the Northumbrian King as his forces overwhelmed and surrounded those of Ragnar with ease. Wanting to prove whether the Norseman's dragon-slaying epithet held any truth, King Ælla had Ragnar thrown into a pit of snakes, where he would meet his end.

Ragnar's Death.jpg
The Death of Ragnar the Dragon-Slayer

Shortly after hearing word of their father’s demise, the sons of Ragnar, feared warriors on their own, departed the northern lands at the helm of the greatest heathen army the peoples of Britain had ever witnessed, unlike any Roman or Anglo-Saxon invasion force that had ever disembarked on British shores. As they advanced inland, the Great Heathen Army encountered the forces of King Ælla outside the city of Ebrauc, or York, as it’s known by the English, who stood ready to defend against the Godless pagans of the North. Upon seeing the approaching forces of King Ælla, the Norsemen feigned retreat. Perceiving their flight and terror, the Northumbrians were overwhelmed with pride and arrogance, giving chase to the invaders, swiftly falling for their ruse. It would not be long before the Northumbrians would find themselves surrounded by the much stronger party of Norsemen who predicted such tactics from King Ælla. Despite fighting upon each side with much ferocity, the Northumbrians would eventually succumb to the wrath of the Norse, resulting in King Ælla fleeing North, toward the fortress of Caerliwelydd, also known as Carlisle by the English.

Ragnar's Sons.jpg
A Northumbrian emissary arranging the surrender of King Ælla to the sons of Ragnar

Rejoiced by the rout of the defenders, the Great Heathen Army soon occupied Ebrauc and slaughtered its denizens, establishing it as their base of operations from which they would stage the conquest of Britain. The Norse named their settlement Jórvík, and soon split the Kingdom of Northumbria between the two leaders at the battle of Ebrauc, Ivar “the Boneless,” and Halfdan “White Shirt.” Ivar, who already possessed dominion over the Irish kingdoms of Dublin and Waterford, saw keen to reward his brother a larger share of Ælla’s realm, becoming king over the lands where the old British kingdom of Gododdin once stood. His brother Halfdan would establish Ebrauc as the capital of the remaining lands of Northumbria, which roughly encompassed the old British kingdoms of Deifr and Brynaich, the heartlands of Ælla’s kingdom.

Not content with their monumental gains over the Northumbrian Angles, the sons of Ragnar would continue their onslaught South, marching through Mercia toward the kingdom of East Anglia, where the forces of Ubba would encounter and defeat the combined forces of King Eadmund of East Anglia, and King Burhræd of Mercia at the battle of Lincoln. It was here that the pious king Eadmund would be martyred, as the ruthless Ubba and his men decimated the East Angles with ease. With Eadmund’s death, and the utter defeat of his armies, Ubba would become king of East Anglia, establishing the third Norse kingdom in Britain proper.

Edmundbeingmartyred05.jpg
A medieval illumination depicting the death of Eadmund the Martyr to the Viking forces

As Ubba marched toward the East Anglian capital of Thetford, Halfdan gave pursuit to the Mercians, who began to rout upon the death of their ally, King Eadmund. While many fell to the pursuing Norsemen, the bulk of the Mercian army retreated toward their capital of Tamworth, where they successfully repelled the forces of Halfdan. This Mercian victory was pyrrhic at best however, for Halfdan obtained free reign to pillage Mercia, as the eastern half of the kingdom was now under his control, while King Burhræd held the West.

While Ubba and Halfdan continued to strengthen their hold over eastern Mercia and East Anglia, Ivar continued his march South toward London, a key stronghold of the Kingdom of Wessex North of the Thames. His army, having lost much of its forces as Ubba and Halfdan splintered to forge their new kingdoms, was evenly matched with the forces of King Æthelred, who remained steadfast against the wrath of Ivar and his men. Knowing he only needed to defend his position to prevent the advance of the Norse armies into Wessex, King Æthelred did not pursuit the retreating armies of Ivar, who after a day’s worth of fighting realized he would not be able to break through the forces of the West Saxons without the aid of his brothers. Any further bloodshed would leave him too weak to defend his lands in Ireland and Northumbria, and thus he left Wessex nearly untouched by the wrath of the Norsemen, leaving King Æthelred with ample time to gather strength and allies from the continent. A conquest left unfinished.

Norse Campaigns.png
The campaigns of the Great Heathen army, with their advanced labeled green, and the English retreats labeled red
 

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So Wessex has weathered the storm, and the Britons are as yet untouched
 
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Interesting introduction...

Subbed!
Thank you. Your reply even beat my introductory post haha, you were quick!
Good. I love these sorts of back from the brink stories. A shame you couldn't finish your previous AAR.
Yeah, although thankfully most of the story of Armenia had already been told, as IIRC it was around the 1250's that the last update occurred, quickly approaching the end-date. Could've been much worse lol. The Cumbri really were at the brink at this point, nowadays they don't really exist :(, having been integrated into the Scottish and English people.
So Wessex has weathered the storm, and the Britons are as yet untouched
Yup, pretty much. It's quickly becoming a race to see which of the two, if any, will be the ones to push the Vikings out. It's poetic in many ways, as Wessex is now experiencing what the remaining Briton kingdoms once felt as they faced loss after loss to the Anglo-Saxon invaders centuries past.
 

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The Britons yet survive, as does Wessex.

The native British (Britons, Angles, and Saxons) can’t be happy with this pagan rule, though.

Perhaps this is an opportunity for the Cumbric people?
 
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CHAPTER III

THE REIGN OF KING ARTGAL, AND HOW HE SET THE STAGE FOR THE RISE OF CUMBRI

To understand the rise of the Cumbric Kingdom of Ystrad Clud, or Strathclyde, one must first examine the life of the man responsible for its ascendance. Much like how Phillip of Epirus laid the groundwork for Alexander “the Great” to sweep through the Persian Empire, Artgal set the stage for his son, King Run, as well as his grandson, King Meirchion “the Lionheart.” By the time of his ascension, King Run would be at the helm of one of the best trained forces in Britain, experienced in the field, and hungry for conquest and glory, all thanks to his father's arduous work.

King Artgal would ascend to the throne of Strathclyde during a time in which Viking raids had become a fact of life in Britain, about a decade prior to the invasion of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms by the sons of Ragnar. As the Kingdom of the Picts to the North crumbled all around Strathclyde due to the Viking invasions, King Artgal set out to centralize his Strathclyde for it had been the tribal disunity of the Picts that had allowed the Vikings to so easily establish their dominance over the region. In order to do such a thing, king Artgal faced three obstacles: The autonomous sub-kingdom of Aeron, the independent Pictish Kingdom of Galwyddel, and the contested Kingdom of Arfderydd.

Artgal's lands.png
The Kingdom of Strathclyde before king Artgal's conquests (in blue), the kingdom of Aeron (in yellow), the kingdom of Galwyddel (in red), and the kingdom of Arfderydd (in pink).

The sub-kingdom of Aeron was nominally a vassal of Strathclyde, but in reality the nobility there seldom fulfilled the duties owed to the crown, often striking out on their own against the Picts to their South, as well as the northern Irish, causing trouble to the kings of Strathclyde who often found themselves embroiled in conflict, attempting to persuade or even bribe their neighbors to avoid any retaliation against Aeron. With the Picts and the Northumbrians preoccupied with the numerous Viking raids, Artgal no longer had to worry about external threats at his borders, and thus could focus his attention on the uppity nobles of Aeron. It was in July of 858 that the forces of Strathclyde met with the armies of the disloyal sub-kingdom, with King Artgal at the head of his forces. While the record lacks any information about the result of this battle, the disappearance of the dynasties of Aeron from the annals after 858 might indicate King Artgal’s choosing of a more “permanent” solution to the Aeron problem.

Strathclyde’s relationship with its Pictish neighbors was less than amicable, involving raids from both sides, as well as the occasional regicide, often in battle. While the larger kingdom of Pictland (what would become the kingdom of Scotland) was Strathclyde’s main rival in the North, the kingdom of Galwyddel was just as troublesome, constantly launching raids from the South, and allying with Pictland in order to check the power of Strathclyde, preventing a full out conquest of their much smaller kingdom by the Cumbric kings. This balance of power came to an end with the Viking invasions however, as the kingdom of Pictland became unable to assist their brethren in the South, facing multiple invasions from the Northmen. King Artgal, not content with subjugating Aeron, set out to end the Pictish threat in the South. First, he arranged a marriage between Prince Run, King Artgal’s sole heir, and the princess of Pictland Morag. This holy union would bring the two kingdoms closer, establishing a pact to cease all hostilities, a welcome turn of events for King Causantin II of Pictland, for he had his hands full with the Norse raiders. This marriage isolated the Picts in Galwyddel, for they no longer could rely on Pictland to assist them in the event of a Cumbric invasion, and very quickly fell to the might of Artgal, fully integrating Galwyddel into Strathclyde in November of 860, displacing the native population whilst encouraging Cumbric settlers to move into the abandoned villages. The South Picts were no more, and King Artgal had doubled the size of his realm in only two years.

morag.jpg
Princess Morag's arrival to the port of Strathclyde, being greeted by Prince Run

The last of Artgal’s conquests was that of the contested kingdom of Arfderydd, a land population by fellow Cumbri, but nominally reigned from Northumbria. While Pictland was Sthratclyde’s rival in the North, that rivalry paled in comparison to the enmity between Northumbria and Strathclyde, which at one point even fully conquered Strathclyde in the 8th century, only to lose it to rebellions a decade later. Northumbria often came ahead when the two kingdoms clashed, and thus held suzerainty over the lands of Arfderydd, lands which rightfully belonged to Artgal’s kingdom.

King Artgal was well aware of Northumbria’s poor shape, as it had been subject to Viking raids for years, and was in no condition to defend its claim on the contested kingdom, and thus called up his banners in August of 861, ready to attack the Angles. Too busy fighting off the Norsemen, Northumbria offered no resistance at the advance of Artgal, and thus Strathclyde successfully annexed Arfderydd without spilling any Cumbri blood. It is unknown why King Artgal did not push further into Northumbria, with many claiming his old age had brought about health complications that stopped his ambitions. Regardless of the reason, King Artgal’s conquests came to an end, and he would spend the next six years of his life drilling the Cumbric armies, as well as successfully establishing trade links with the Frankish realms in the mainland, attracting trade and riches to his kingdom. King Artgal would die of natural age on the 5th of July of 867, passing the throne to his sole heir, King Run, who was more than ready to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Artgal.png
The late King Artgal
 

Cromwell

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Ah, another Werson AAR. :)

It seems Northumbria had a lucky escape with Artgal's age preventing him from taking further advantage of their weakness.

None the less King Artgal has laid a fine foundation for his son and heir to work on. I sense more conflict in the near future and a cornucopia of glory and riches for all true men of Strathclyde!
 

stnylan

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Top dog in its own yard, but now moving on to more treacherous waters I think
 

The Number 9

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Great introduction chapters. I barely know this part of history.
 

HistoryDude

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Artgal seems like he was a good king.

Now, does Steathclude expand south - to reclaim lands from the Anglo-Saxons - or west into Ireland, given the newfound peace with Pictland?
 
Chapter 4 New

Werson

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CHAPTER IV

THE BEGINNING OF THE GREAT REVERSAL, OR HOW KING RUN ENDED THE FIVE CENTURY LONG RETREAT OF THE BRITONS

Britain when Run.png
Britain in July of 867 and the Viking realms within it: Ivar's Kingdom of Lothian (green), Ubba's Kingdom of East Anglia (pink), Halfdan's Kingdom of York (red), and the Kingdom of the Isles (purple).

It had been 233 years since the native Britons had gone on the offensive against the English invaders, when King Cadwallon of Gwynned had seized the Northumbrian throne with the aid of his Mercian ally, King Penda. Although Cadwallon's reign had been short, merely a year or two (before he died in battle and the kingdom was reconquered), it had left a lasting legacy in the island, for his ruthlessness had become legendary, instilling fear into the hearts of the English even two centuries after his death. Cadwallon's conquest of Northumbria had been the last time any British king successfully seized territory from the English, but the ascension of King Run on the throne of Strathclyde would put an end to the losing British streak.

At 40 years of age, King Run was a veteran warrior of many raids, known throughout the Northern realms as a great warrior. Despite his renown, the late King Artgal had refused to let Run lead the armies of Strathclyde in battle against the English, only providing him with a small warband which he would lead in many raids against the kingdoms of Pictland and Dal Riata. Now, with his father six feet under, King Run would finally be able to prove himself a capable commander, attacking and conquering the last Northumbrian stronghold of Carlisle only four months after the death of his father. While the Norse had been the ones to seize most of the northern Kingdom, their ultimate defeat at the hands of King Run had a symbolic significance for the Cumbri, for the Northumbrians were their eternal rivals. The Northumbrians were no more, and a new era for Strathclyde had begun.

End of Northumbria.png
The Battle of Carlisle, October of 867

Fresh off the success against the Northumbrians, King Run and his men marched North, believing the sons of Ragnar too be much to be busy dealing with the internal issues their conquests in Britain had brought them. The warbands of Strathclyde would strike at the Hebridan Norse on February of 868, who failed to organize their armies to oppose the Cumbri warriors.


Argyll.png
The Viking Ketill and his Kingdom of the Isles (Mann not pictured).

With the bulk of his forces fighting in Mercia, Ketill's realm was quickly subdued, and his reign over the Inner Hebrides had ended. While he was ousted from his throne, his vassals were given the customary choice to convert or also get exiled. Rather pragmatically, the lords of the Hebrides chose to convert, earning King Run three vassals off the coast of his realm. Eyvindr was of low standing in Norse society, and rather docile compared to his brethren. Orlyg was of the same lineage as the deposed Ketill, but had apparently converted prior to King Run's conquest, and thus held animosity toward his deposed kin. Despite that, Orlyg still held a claim to the Isles, and thus could potentially be dangerous. Thorstein was the most renowned of the three, with a legendary lineage of rulers in Norway, as well as a vast warband that could challenge the king's peace. These former pagans were not to be trusted, and King Run, well aware of that fact, would establish a network of spies across their realms to keep a watchful eye over them.

vassals.png
The vassals of King Run

Having projected his power to both South and North, King Run seized the fleets of the deposed Ketill and sailed West, landing on the northern coasts of Ireland, where he would winter in 869, raiding the petty kingdoms into submission, carrying large riches into Strathclyde. The power of King Run and the Cumbri was starting to be felt across Britain, and the Norse realms of Lothian and York were starting to take notice. King Run would continue his string of victories shortly after returning home from Ireland, raiding Pictland, who he no longer had ties to, for Queen Morag had succumbed to pneumonia during his stay abroad.

Morag's opportune death had come at the perfect time, for the King of the Franks had recently annulled a betrothal of his daughter to a Spanish king who succumbed to the Mohammedan faith, and thus was looking for a good match for princess Ermentrude. The trade links and diplomatic relations his father had established with the Franks had paid off, as King Charles agreed to a marriage between Run and his daughter. The Kingdoms of Frankia and Strathclyde were now bound by marriage, and an alliance was shortly established. The Franks gained greater influence in the isles, while King Run had bought himself a great deterrent against the Norse, for the threat of the Franks was enough to dissuade the pagans from attacking the Cumbri kingdom. Things were looking up for King Run and his kingdom.

new frank wife.png
The new Queen of Strathclyde, and her father, King Charles of Frankia

run's conquests.png
The Kingdom of Strathclyde at the closing of 869 AD
 

stnylan

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Now that is a far more substantial kingdom.
 

HistoryDude

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Steathclude is doing well.

In time, Britons will rule all of Britain - and perhaps Brittany?
 

JSB217118

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King Run is having quite the run of successes. Some of the pictures aren't showing up
 

Cromwell

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King Run has hit the the ground running (oh ho!). Let's hope he can keep up this rate of expansion.