Issue 121 - The Elegy of Geraint

In issue 121 of Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy, we take a look at warfare in the British Isles during Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages. Of course, everyone's favourite legendary English king plays a role too! The online article provides information on a very real battle (at least according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle) fought between the native Britons and invading Saxons. The exact site of this raid in AD 501 is contested, but Portchester seems a likely candidate. This battle may have marked the death of Geraint the Great, whose history is further detailed in the Elegy of Geraint, which is found in the Black Book of Carmarthen.

>> Download the scenario for the Battle of Portchester here (PDF)

 

1 comment

As a scenario for a table-top wargame I give the article high marks, but it goes without saying that the whole battle is problematical: A. which Geraint was it who led the British there? There are several Geraint’s in the 5th/6th century to choose from. B. When did the Battle take place; certainly not 501, if you date the Battle of Baden to ca. the 490’s; C. “Port” is a personal name created to fill a blank by the Saxon chroniclers based on the placename, not the other way round. D. This is assuming there even was a Saxon landing and battle there, since Cerdic, the “Saxon” who ruled the region later and is considered the founder of the Wessex Dynasty, was in all probability a Celtic British leader and not Germanic, although his followers may have been; E. and how does this all fit in with Geoffrey of Monmouth’s alleged “130,000 African” invaders who allegedly over-ran the region in the early 6th century? (I know, I know, we can’t trust ole Geoffrey, and it’s likely he had too much altar wine when he wrote that passage in HRB.) Other than these nit-picky problems with the history of the battle, I’d say you did a great job on laying out the scenario. In any case, the paint job on the miniatures looks fantastic, and a good table-top layout trumps historical accuracy any day, I say.

C. Kiernan Coleman

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