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The historical enemies & allies of Britannia?

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#1 Sami K

Sami K


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Posted 23 October 2009 - 12:21 AM

I was wondering if there were any historians out there who would be able to divide the factions of Britannia (the game) into 4 groupings that only include peoples who were not enemies (in the grand scheme of things) or were allies in each set?


This might not be the most balanced of all drafts, but I was simply interested in seeing what they'd look like.

I know, for example, that the Angles and the picts definitely were enemies. What about the Angles, Saxons and the Jutes? Were they the mortal enemies the game casts them as?

#2 JustinB



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Posted 03 February 2011 - 04:56 PM

There was a pretty big rivalry between the Angles and the Saxons.  What isn't shown in the game is that the Saxon culture consisted of many different "nations": Wessex, Essex, and the like.  I believe the Angles were also set up in different nations/tribes.  However, just like in the game, it's useful for the Saxons and Angles to not annihilate each other, lest the Danes completely take over the island.  Historically, the Angles were devastated and the Saxons had to mount a defense.  What can't be modeled in the game is that the Danes usually were bribed to not attack until Alfred the Great resisted them and pushed them back, reconquering much of the lost Saxon territory.  What also can't be shown is that eventually the Danes settled down and became part of this confederation of cultures.  Due to a weakening Saxon line of Kings, the Danes actually held much influeIt is actually fairly ironic that if William is killed the game ends, as it is hard to imagine Harold or Harald putting so many to the sword and working so hard to hold territory.  In the process of this he unified much of the island in a way that hadn't been achieved before.

Anyway, to answer your question, the alliances are mostly represented by the tribes, such as "Belgae", or "Picts", but especially the Saxons and Angles.  For the most part, every token on the board represents a local tribe with its own organization and its own leader.  The symbols on the tokens show that all of these tribes share a common cultural link, but there was certainly much infighting and attempts to seize power.  For the most part I would say that there were very few permanent alliances.  As for mortal enemies, Boudicca's daughters were raped at the orders of the local Roman governor.  This was, according to the history books I have read, a rogue action, but all of Roman Britain suffered for it.  (And understandably so, it makes me very sympathetic to Boudicca).  The Picts frequently raided the Romans, which is why they built Hadrian's Wall.  The Picts made a charge into Roman territory at least once on a major scale.  Eventually, they were assimilated fully by the Scots, and Pictish culture disappeared.  The Welsh largely sat content in Wales, occasionally making trouble for Rome or the Saxons.  The Welsh had the most to lose from Williams' invasion.  I suppose if the game went longer, the Welsh would seriously consider helping the Saxons!

The Danes, of course, raided any monestary they could find, so almost everyone hated them.  The Norwegians, Normans, and Saxons were all three parts of a succession war, and their introduction at the end of the game represents a big step in Britain's transformation from tribalism to nationalism (for the elite, at any rate) and their tokens should not be considered as individual tribes, but as regular armies.

Well, now I have to read my English history books. I had a class that briefly covered this time period, so I may not have everything 100% accurate.  Unfortunately, I don't have them handy, so you'll have to trust my memory.  Also, I'd look up the other groups for you (though mostly this particular book only deals with England).  I hope that gave you a bit of what you were looking for.  If you're interested, I can tell you the name of the book, I'm certain that it's available online or some library or a bookstore.

#3 Gruffling



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Posted 21 July 2014 - 09:12 AM

Further to what JustinB states, your original question relates to matching Nations in the game that were allies. Unfortunately, given the factional nature of Britain before the conquest (and after it, if truth be told), it would be nigh impossible to identify two nations that were consistently allied. In the Roman phase different peoples had different relationships to each other and to the Romans - some tribes welcomed and supported the Romans, whereas others fought against them. The game rationalises this by having three peoples occupying southern Britain and two in northern Britain - any of these could fight each other even after the arrival of the Romans. The post Roman period saw the native inhabitants at each others' throats and worried about the Picts and the irish/Scots. The English Myth (supported by Welsh sources) is that the top dog amongst the British asked the Angles/saxons/Jutes to settle, following established Roman principles of federate forces being given land. The plan failed and the English peoples revolted and went on the land grab. This in time led to the "far more than seven kingdoms" period, often with English kings taking over native kingdoms. The "Angles" of the game represent three of the seven later kingdoms of the Heptarchy: Northumbria, Mercia and East Anglia, the Jutes were the kingdom of Kent and are thought to have settled the Isle of Wight and the coast of Hampshire, the Saxons represent the remaining Heptarchy kingdoms of Wessex, Essex and Sussex. All of these kingdoms could at any time fight another: Northumbria for example was formed after Bernicia and Deira fought each other and then went on to be the mortal enemy of Mercia (all part of the Angles in the game). Similarly the Vikings were not exactly a unified force, although they did act together when it suited them, such as the Great Army. Contrary to what JustinB states, the Danes were not bought off at this time, that came much later. The survival of Wessex was a surprise reversal of fortunes. In Scotland the situation is the same; the Picts and Scots were rivals, and the Picts were divided into at least two kingdoms, often more. The arrival of Vikings changed the dynamic so that in time the two peoples merged into one to fight the Vikings, although they came under the name of Scots (myths that the Scots wiped out the Picts are just that: myths). So, in a sentence, no, not only is it impossible to find consistent allies, the game is balanced along lines that give players different spheres of influence and offer a range of possible enemies - it overlooks conflicts on a local scale in order to make the game playable.

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