Age of Arthur - Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum
Via Limes Traiana
They are listed below in order from the Eastern coast to the Western coast. If you know the actual name of one of these cities/Castrum/roads in Welsh/Latin by all means message me. I’m not “married” to any of these names.
The Via Limes Traiana (Trajan’s Frontier Road, called the Via Limes for short… li-mes like the origin of the word “limit” rather than the green citrus fruit.), called the Stanegate in Saxon, and the Cynffindirffordd (KIF-in-dir-FORTH) is a 3-4 hundred year old Roman road running east to west across England just south of Hadrian’s Wall.
The path is dotted with “Major Forts” and “Minor Forts” all along the route. The possession of these forts is (obviously) a major military and strategic objective for both the Britons as well as the invading Saxons.
Monkchester (Saxon (Angles) – Independent)
The old roman coastal city of Pons Aelius and the minor fort of Arbeia is now firmly in Saxon hands (In history, this area would become part of the Angle Kingdom of Deira. Today this location is known as Newcastle-Upon-Tyne).
There was a much older fort at what is today Washing Wells which would have technically been the fort on the Via Limes… but it is basically a rock quarry for Monkchester. The fortification itself is nearly gone.
Prior to the landing of the Angles, this was Bryneich and King Morcant ruled these coastal lands, both north and south of Hadrian’s Wall (his fortress of Din Guardi is north of the Wall on the Coast, where today Bamburgh Castle is located).
Corbrycg (Officially Saxon (Angles) – Abandoned)
Corstopitum once had the greatest potential to be a center of trade. Two major roads intersected here. It formed the grand North-South Road connected London and the southern coast to the Atonine Wall to the far north.
Within a generation after 410 AD (when Rome officially ended its rule of Britannia) this city was completely abandoned and its grand stone streets empty. All that is known is that even the Angles refuse to enter. They call it Corbrycg, in honor of the bridges in the area and its “core” position on two roads… but they avoid it like death itself. The great streets, giant temples, and ancient buildings lie dark and foreboding.
That does not mean the roads are still navigable, travelers beware. For Britons, to travel North-to-South means to pass through Luguvalium on the West side of the country. The Eastern great road is shut. The Angles menace the roads.
Þorntúnes (Saxon (Angles) – Independent)
The Anglisc raiders of Thrydwulf Sigbertsson have penetrated as far as Caer Croyw (kayr KROY-oo), what would today be known as Newbrough. Since the fact that the Angles now control as far west as this fort is a “Thorn” in the sides of the Britons, they’ve taken to calling it Þorntúnes (Thorn Town). The Britons don’t think that’s anywhere near as funny. That said, this old “fort” is basically just a glorified pile of stones with old ditches (that are nearly all filled back in) around it.
Currently, the raiders that have taken over this small (Auxilia) Castrum call a man named Thrydwulf their chief (Brego). He commands just under 100 warriors and hangers-on (originally Thrydwulf arrived to Britannia with three longships under his banner). They have done some improving to the “fort” – restoring some of the stonework and putting up thatch roofing, etc. They’ve also put palisades around the ditches.
Vindolanda (Romano-Briton – Independent)
Today, this area comprises the lands and villa of a single Romano-British Family and those affiliated with it – the Cerialis. The patriarch of the Gens (clan/tribe) Cerialis is a breeder of horses of Roman and Gaulish ancestry named Flavius.
Though they have no love for the Saxons, the fact that they do not refuse to sell to the Saxons has bought them a form of peace.
If a northern Chief – Briton, Roman, or Saxon – wishes a fine horse… it is from Flavius Cerialis he buys.
Vindolanda is defended by a force of 300 Romano-British Cavalry that still use the ruins of the old Roman Fort (that once held 1000 cavalry) as their headquarters. “Infantry” is provided by the Britons that are affiliated with the Cerialii (servants and their families, etc.). The area is dedicated to both the God of the Forge Vulcan as well as the Romano-Gaulish Goddess Gallia. Southward on the property is also a Roman Bath as well as several impressive (if slightly time worn) temples, altars, and outbuildings.
There are nearly two-dozen different Gods and Goddesses worshipped or venerated in some way at Vindolanda – and the Cerialii believe that their faith and righteousness is part of the reason they’re so “blessed” with such advantages.
Caer Dwybreoedd (Briton – Independent)
Caer Dwybreoedd (kayr DWEE-brey-oyth) is a minor fort along the road and is held by Gwyn ap Gorsedd (GWIN ap GOR-seth). He is supported by about 100 warriors and their families. They are unaffiliated with any significant Dux. This place is today near the township of Haltwistle Burn.
Though the old roman roofs have been replaced with thatch, the ditches are filling in, and the walls are crumbling in some places, this smaller sized castrum is actually fairly well maintained considering its age.
Magnis Carvetiorum (Mixed – Independent)
There is a Roman north-south feeder road along the Appenine mountains through the Cumberland Fells. At the intersection of this feeder road, the Via Virago (Maiden Way) and the Via Limes, is the town of Magnis and the remains of the Roman Fort of Carvoran.
Now that Hadrian’s Wall is abandoned and the traffic is significantly reduced, the city is a ghost of what it was a century before. However, the “city” has become something of a trader’s haven. Those wishing to cross Hadrian’s Wall at someplace other than Luguvalium or Corstopitum must come across the Via Virago. Britons and Romano-Britons that have a reason to want to avoid the notice of King Uriens of Rheged and/or King Lot of Gododdin (north of the Wall) have created a wild trader’s market that answers to no master. Like most of the old castrum along the old frontier road, the roofs fell away long ago and have been replaced with timber and thatch. The walls are in various states of repair across the entire compound. As with some other castrum where the long barracks remain usable, there are interior wooden walls and newly created doorways that subdivide the barracks into housing for multiple families/businesses/tenants.
A man named Claudius Galeo keeps the “peace” (such as it is) to ensure the free flow of trade. He and his band of 100 or so thugs charge a modest fee for their services and for the use of their “free” market. His personal “Villa” is the Roman milefort that’s part of Hadrian’s Wall just a bowshot away from Carvoran.
Caer Derw (Briton – Independent)
Einion ap Dilwyn (EIN-yun ap DIL-aun) commands about a hundred of his kith and kin from the minor fort along the road. For many long years there had been constant raiding between Einion and Gorwst ap Glew. Recently, owing to the increasing frequency of Saxon attacks – deeper and deeper inland – Gorwst and Einion have declared a form of “truce.” Einion, however, loves his freedom too much. He refuses to join Rheged.
Caer Derw has had its interior buildings cannibalized to keep the outer wall defensible. The old ditches have been somewhat dug out and a new palisade erected. Though the foundations and bottoms of the old interior buildings are stone, the buildings themselves are mostly timber, wattle, and thatch.
Dyffrynmynyddoedd (Briton – Rheged)
Caer Dyffryn (kayr DIF-rin) is held by the brother of Gorwst – Dylan ap Glew. The surrounding lands are nestled deep within a section of wild forest. In the Brythonic tongue is it Dyffrynmynyddoedd (DIF-rin-MY-nith-oyth). It will be known as the Dentonfell Forest in the modern day, with Caer Dyffryn called Nether Denton.
It is the easternmost fortress on the border of the Kingdom of Rheged. As such, and being along the Via Limes, it is of vital political and military significance. The fort is in a similar state to Caer Derw, though the interior buildings are fully stone (save for the roof) or fully timber (with a stone foundation). Any buildings that were in poor repair were used as a stone quarry to repair other stone buildings. For these “cannibalized” buildings, the remaining stones were removed and the entire structure replaced with timber.
Twyncaerau (Briton – Rheged)
The minor fort of Twyncaerau (TOWN-kayr-au) acts as a central staging point for horses and supplies in Gorwst lands. Today it’s near Boothby. It sits halfway between Caer Dyffryn and Caer Gwyr. Other than its strategic significance, it’s a farming community. The old minor fort is just used a stone quarry and stables carved/built into the old clay rampart. It only ever had a single ditch which has been mostly filled back in.
Caer Gwyr (Briton – Rheged)
Caer Gwyr (kayr GOW-er) is the main fort/residence of King Uriens’ eastern Dux – Gorwst ap Glew’s seat of influence and home villa. Being, as it is an easy day’s ride from the luxuries and amenities of Luguvalium, Gorwst can usually be found travelling back and forth. Occasionally he even does so with his retinue of 100 or so warriors and their attendants. This is near the modern day location of the Brampton Old Church.
This fort is actually mostly timber in the Celtic style (like a Ringfort) but it’s built upon an old Roman foundation of stone. For reasons unclear, the Romans had nearly fully dismantled the old stone fortress and filled in the ramparts and ditches.
Caerafonydd (Briton – Rheged)
Caerafonydd (kayr A-FON-ith) is mainly a sprawling village of fields that feed Luguvalium. However, there are three or so tiny square foundations in the area that were once Roman watchtowers (near modern day Watchclose and Moss Side). These now form fairly sturdy timber houses of wealthy tribesmen of Rheged.
Caer Luel (Briton – Seat of Rheged)
Excerpt from the main rulebook (pg. 164).
"Luguvalium is the capital of the Kingdom of Rheged. It is a walled Roman town, the only one in this part of Britannia, found at the confluence of three rivers. It was originally built to supply the troops on the Wall of Hadrian. The Wall and the Luguvalium are within sight of each other on a clear day.
The town was named in honour of the god Lugh, who was patron of the local Carvetii tribe before the Romans took over. With the end of Roman rule the local people have dispensed with worship of the Christ god. Lugh and the other British gods have been restored to their rightful place. Worship of Epona, as well as Lugh, is important in the town.
At the height of Roman power in the area one thousand cavalrymen were stationed in Luguvalium. The cavalry units did not leave when Roman rule ended in Britain and they still form the core strength of the kingdom of Rheged’s army."
Aballava (Briton – Rheged)
Situated near the Western coastline, the fortress at Aballava (Caer Afal) is the focus for any kinds of counterattacks against marauding Gaels from Hibernia. Likewise it’s a location that marauding Gaels tend to prefer to avoid if possible – a fact for which the fishing community that grew up around it is grateful. Small parts of the northernmost area of the compound have since fallen into the Solway Firth. Save for a tall and mostly wooden watchtower (facing the sea and built on a stone foundation), the rest are roofless shells of buildings. Nearly everything here is battered by sea winds and storms and is falling into piles of mossy stone.
The great boon of Aballava (which means Orchard) are the sweet Roman apple trees that still bear fruit regularly. It is another minor, yet significant reason, that Uriens’ feasts are so renowned.