Arthur, Cerdic, and the Formation of Wessex

APPENDIX B: A Possible Chronology of Cerdic's Life

425-30: Birth of Cerdic, son of Eliavres and Ysaive

430's: Spends much of his youth on his father's ships with Saxon seamen

Birth of Guignier

440's: Serves as Vortigern's interpreter

Vortigern marries Hengist's daughter, and Britain thus "passes under the domination of the Saxons".

Cerdic stricken with polio; survives, but emaciated and crippled. Cerdic is cured by St. Germanus. Germanus' mission from Aetius to Vortigern unsuccessful or incomplete because of Vortigern's personal misconduct.

Ambrosius Aurelianus sent to Britain by Aetius. With Vortimer and Cador, challenges Hengist and Vortigern for control of the island.

Cerdic, Octha, and Ebessa campaign against the Picts in Scotland, and reopen iron and coal mines, perhaps using captured Picts and Scots as slaves.

448-50: Cerdic bases his fleet in Anglesey, and ravages the coast of Ireland, suppressing the Irish raids and capturing slaves for mines and transport. Weapons produced and stockpiled in Britain.

450: Patrick's letter of complaint over ravagings of Ireland by Coroticus.

451: Huns invade Gaul. Weapons and armor shipped to Nantes enable the Visigoths to lift the siege of Orleans in mid-June. British and loyal Saxon forces (`Gewisse') sail to Vannes and Boulogne. The Battle of Chalons in July. Perhaps at this time Vortimer forces refugees and untrustworthy Saxons onto the Isle of Thanet.

452: Armies return from Gaul (which Geoffrey interprets as reinforcements from Germany). At a banquet of returning veterans, called to reorganize Britain, a brawl erupts and several hundred British nobility are slain. This huge loss of leadership opens the floodgates for droves of marauders who lay waste to the countryside and initiate bitter Briton-Saxon hostilities.

456: Ambrosius organizes and leads the resistance against Saxon raiders, beginning a long struggle to recover order. Cerdic, Cador, and Riagath fight in the defense of Britain. Vortigern and Hengist perish.

460's: The Second Saxon Revolt is eventually put down. Octha comes from Anglesey to take command of Kentishmen, with Ambrosius's sanction. Ambrosius dies and Riagath becomes king. Peace and prosperity in Britain. Cerdic grows wealthy in shipping and iron working. He marries Guignier, and children are born, of whom at least Creoda, Anna, and Cynric survive. Guignier is from Cornwall, and perhaps at this time Cerdic rules Glamorgan, but his ships frequent ports all over Britain and the Gallic coasts. Saxon immigration continues in eastern Britain.

470: Aegidius and Syagrius in the Roman province of northern Gaul attempt to roll back the Visigoths under Euric. They are joined by Riotimus, who brings British cavalry, and Cerdic's Saxon footsoldiers. They are defeated at Deol, and Cerdic and his men are captured. Riotimus is driven into Burgundy. Cerdic, to save his men from massacre, agrees to be Euric's vassal, and is installed as ruler of Nantes and Vannes.

470-85: Cerdic transfers his operations from Anglesey and Glamorgan to Vannes, providing Euric with a fleet. Cerdic's ships supply the Frisians in campaigns against the Franks. Saxon raids increase in Britain, leading to the founding of Sussex and Northumbria. The aggressive Aelle kills Octha and takes Kent. Cador establishes the cavalry fortress of Cadbury, and appeals to Cerdic for help.

485: The death of Euric ends Cerdic's obligation.

495: Euric's son Alaric becomes overextended, and Clovis invades the Loire valley. Cerdic and Cynric leave Creoda in command at Vannes and move displaced vassals, including some Visigoth and Alanic knights, to the Southampton area.

495-98: Cerdic expands and consolidates Hampshire holdings, and begins his campaign to take over the Upper Thames region. Allied with Cador, Cerdic leads the kings of the Britons in battles against Oesc and Aelle's Kentishmen. Cador dies around now.

500: The Battle of Badonbyrig (Banbury?) establishes Wessex.

500-10: The aging king maintains the peace and well protects his country. His sons remain loyal, but a frustrated grandson, Medrot, seeks independence and power. Guignier sympathizes with Medrot.

510-15: Cerdic dies in his 80's, perhaps in an angry quarrel with the young and tragic Medrot.

John C. Rudmin, 864 Chicago Av, Harrisonburg, VA, 22801
Joseph W. Rudmin, Physics Dept., James Madison Univ., Harrisonburg, VA, 22807
(First submitted for publication in Oct 1993)

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