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BRITAIN'S ROYAL ROMAN FAMILY
We have previously suggested
there was one special family on the isle of Britain in the 4th century which was recognized as worthy "to wear the purple"
and rule as Emperor in the Roman style. It began as a purely Celt family where the concept of a "kingly" family
ruling a tribe was long established. While that form of government in Wales continued until the Edwardian Conquest,
its Roman nature which had been strong for 200 years began to fade away in the century after Rome officially withdrew from
the island. The most Romanized element of the population lived in the cites of the flatlands which were overrun by Saxons
in the 5th and later centuries; by the end of the 7th century, only the mountainous lands in the west dubbed "weahls" remained
until Celtic control.
Our story begins with
the family descended from the brave Caraticus whose AD 51 stand against the Roman invasion was recorded by Tacitus.
Called "Silures" in that account, the family had settled in Wales two generations earlier by the arrival of a Menapian
mariner known only as Llyr Llediath, the "man of the seas who spoke with a foreign accent". By the beginning of the
3rd century, his descendants held lands circling the coast of Wales, from Caerleon in Gwent to Menevia in Dyfed to Segontium
by the Menai Straits to Degannwy at the mouth of the Conwy and Rhuddlan at the Clwyd. If the rugged interior of Wales
was populated by earlier tribes unrelated to this family, none of their names have been preserved. It is our belief the early
Roman conquerors referred to them as "mountain men" or Silures, and called the ruling family "Ordovices". We think later
historians referred to men of that ruling family as "Menapians" from their pre-British ancestry.
That this family provided military
leaders for the Roman legions as early as the 2nd century is indicated by the name cited for a great-grandson of Caraticus:
Meirchion Fawr Filwr, the "great soldier". Four generations later, the early pedigree materials identify four brothers
born about the first quarter of the third century, sons of Einudd ap Gwrddwyfan:
1. Caradog, the eldest
born c. 220 to the first wife of Einudd and who resided at Minevia in Dyfed, and ruled a territory called Dumnonia.
2. Arthfael, born to Einudd's
second wife about 230 and who resided at Llanmelin in lower Gwent, and ruled a territory called Siluria.
3. Eudaf Hen, born about
230 who resided at Segontium across the Menai from Anglesey in Gwynedd, and ruled a territory called Cernyw.
4. Gereint, born c. 235
who resided at Degonnwy, and ruled a territory called Llydaw. His son Cynan resided at Rhuddlan and held a lordship
called Meriadog during the life of his father.
Caradog ap Eunydd had a
son born c. 250 named Ceris, who became a skilled seaman since his father's kingdom extended both above and below the Bristol
Channel (Dyfed and Cornwall). When Roman Emperor Maximianus Herculius sought an admiral to clear pirates from the North
Sea off the coast of France, he was referred to Ceris. Pronounced KARE-us in the
Brythonic Celt language, this man became known by the Latin cognomen Mauseus Carausius Dionotus. While his fleet
achieved the Roman goal of defeating and deterring piracy on the seas between Britain and France, it is claimed that he would
wait until they had plundered coastal towns and attack their ships only when loaded with loot. When it was reported
to the Emperor that such loot was not finding its way into the Roman treasury, Maximianus ordered his army to capture Carausius
When he eluded Maximianus by
sailing home to Minevia, both the legions under his command and those in Wales declared their loyalty to Carausius and elevated
him as a rival Emperor. Depending on which early sources we accept, this occurred in the year 286 or 287. His "legitimacy"
as a breakaway Emperor ruling the island of Britain was confirmed by Diocletian and Maximianus; Carausius then issued coinage
proclaiming his authority. Contemporary historians name his closest ally as Allectus and say that man was his finance
minister. We tend to see the new emperor as still a Celt tribal king; his father, even if yet living, was past
age 65 and would have given over rule of his lands to his son. Accordingly, we see Allectus as that family's chosen
"edling", the next to rule after the present king. There is no mention of any sons of Carausius, so we suggest Allectus
was a younger first-cousin, the son of Arthfael ap Eunydd. All we really know from the early accounts is that Allectus
was raised to the purple after the death of Carausius. Likely, he became king of the tribe in the Celt style and Emperor
of Britain in the Roman style. The latter ended in 296 when Maximiamus's caesar, Constantius Chlorus, and his praetorian
prefect, Asclepiodotus, killed Allectus and reclaimed Britain for the Roman Empire. No evidence is seen that other then-living
members of the family of Carausius claimed to be more than "tribal king" in the Celtic sense.
We think Carausius left an only
daughter who married Cynan Meriadog. Although his accounts are both anachronistic and muddled, Geoffrey of Monmouth
mentions a daughter of "Donotius" (whom he calls a brother of Caradog) that Cynan desired for his wife. Our timeline
shows why we believe the lady's father was a son of Caradog:
first wife===Eunydd==============second wife
220 Caradog 235 Gereint
230 Arthfael 230 Eudaf Hen
265 Cynan(b) 260 Sandde(c)
(a) Called Donotius by Geoffrey of
Monmouth, his Welsh name was Latinized as Mauseus Carausius Dionotus. When he became Emperor, he adopted the added Latin
names of Marcus Aurelius and dropped "Dionotus"
(b) Lord of Meriadog, the lands east of
the Clwyd and north of the Dee
(c) The Welsh version of "Alexander" or
"Alec", Latin writers rendered it Allectus
(d) While the lady's birthname is unknown,
she would have been about 13 when Cynan Meriadog sought a wife at age 28. Both were typical ages for a first marriage
in the Celt society
About AD300, Cynan Meriadog
and his wife gave birth to a son they named Ceris after the child's maternal grandfather. We suggest this grandson of
Carausius joined the Roman fleet and earned the nickname "Graddllong" as "having rank among ships". He married and gave
birth, in addition to a son Selyf, a daughter of unknown name born c. 328. In the winter of 342, when that young
lady reach child-bearing age, her second-cousin Anwn Dynod contacted Constans I (his first-cousin) to report that a lady of
suitable breeding was available to bear the Emperor's child. Constans made a quick trip to Britain and 9 months later
his son, named Magnus Maximus, was born.
When Constans was killed
in 350, Ceris Graddllong was elevated to Emperor by the legions in Britain as "Carausius II". Among the coinage he authorized
were some marked "Genceris" to denote his direct descent from "the tribe of Ceris", i.e. from Carausius I. The date
of his death is not known, but his grandson (and the son of Constans I) emerged into history in 383 when he was proclaimed
Emperor by the Roman establishment in Britain. His Welsh family and friends called him Macsen Wledig. His combined
Celt/Roman roots are shown in this chart:
250 Ceris ap Caradog (Carausius
I) Gereint 235
daughter==============Cynan Meriadoc 265
300 Ceris (Carausius II) Constantine 274
329 daughter============Constans I 320'