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Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Inspirations a minor ramble

                           This is probably a good point to consider the sources that have inspired me and influenced my thinking on the way to this blog. I suppose the first early influence was that illustrated history and Dear old Geoffrey. They produced a wonderful world of medieval knights and chivalric deeds that filled my schoolboy dreams with brave warriors , magic and ladies in peril. Total rubbish really but it was a start.  The first chink in that armour was Rosemary Sutcliffe and the "Sword at Sunset" by then I had realised that the 14th century Arthurian myths didn't quite fit into post Roman Britain and was ready for a change. I'm not sure I was completely ready for the  nitty gritty Arthur she portrayed or the gay relationship between two of his commitatus (very brave back then) and I realised it was only fiction but it all seemed very viable. She was kind of reinforced by a more factual approach by Michael Woods and his in search of series (so glad I recorded those and migrated them to dvd). What powerful TV that was back then.

                        Those early influences kept me going for many a year and in the ensuing 30 years or so I acquired a collection of so called Arthurian histories and "proofs" most of which have embarrassingly turned out to be rubbish. They did however all fuel the fire. I never lost that desire to wargame the period and have always kept an eye out for the route forward. First the rules and then the figures has always been my criteria. I more or less found what I was looking for at a wargames development conference around 1980 odd. Andy Callan and a couple of other guys laid the groundwork for what became "Dark Age Infantry Slog". They sounded just great to me and I resolved to investigate further. It was soon after that my wife and I  decided to seek our fortune elsewhere and moved permanently to Spain and I became immersed in the daily hustle of the tourist business. It proved to be a very smart move but put wargaming on the back burner for several years.

                      My current interest was inspired by several events. first I read the Bernard Cornwell  Arthurian trilogy. Yes its total fiction . Yes it maintains many of the myths. However the background was VERY dark ages. The fighting was graphically described and they were a bloody good read. This coincided  with me visiting, I think, salute on a trip to the UK and finding a copy of "A glutter of ravens" by Dan Mersey many of his ideas seemed to coincide with my view of the period and the rules were a direct descendant of DAIS. I was convinced and bought myself  a copy of his book  "Arthur king of Britons " which I found very entertaining. Next while surfing I discovered Guy Halsalls series on line called "Age of Arthur". These were extremely informative and I felt fitted my view of post roman Britain almost perfectly. The final contribution to my current inspired state came in the form of a TV documentary called "Britain AD" by Francis Pryor which set out to destroy every fact I had hammered into me during my school-days re Saxons committing genocide and driving out the Britons.

                 With all those factors and founts of inspiration and knowledge in place, how could I resist. That is how I arrived here today. Oh yes one more small point. Dan Mersey  released "Dux bellorum" and I was hooked! One final question you may ask is "Do I believe in King Arthur" In response I could say "well I believed in Santa Claus for a bloody long while so who am I to rubbish king Arthur". The plain and simple response is the jury is still out on that one :)

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