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CERDIC (Hardback)

Mysterious Dark Age king who founded England


By Paul Harper
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 296
Illustrations: 70 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399037280
Published: 21st May 2024


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One of Britain’s most enigmatic legendary figures is brought to life in this new account. Cerdic was a Dark Age warrior who founded the kingdom which became England, but the circumstances of his reign amid the collapse of the Western Roman Empire have been shrouded in mystery. Until now.

Paul Harper tells of how Cerdic emerged from the ashes of Rome and rose to power with a warband known as the Gewisse, who offered protection to civilians from barbarians roaming the land and then fought for territory with Anglo- Saxon and Romano-British kingdoms. While other domains were conquered, the Gewisse survived and evolved into Wessex (West Saxons). During an unprecedented climate disaster, which blocked out normal sunlight for 18 months and led eventually to a plague pandemic which killed millions, Cerdic carved out a new realm that would shape Britain up to the present day.

How various myths and folklore, including the King Arthur Legend, are connected to Cerdic is explored at length. The book features an in-depth investigation into the potential site of Cerdic’s burial based on an ancient charter from Edward the Elder, the son of Alfred the Great, which suggested his great ancestor had been laid to rest at a spot in Hampshire.

Fascinating research leads to a former Bronze Age burial mound which was once known as Ceardices Beorg (Cerdic’s Barrow). One-by-one mysteries are solved including the identity of his shadowy son Creoda, the location of every bloody battle against rival warlords and the links to an iconic medieval poem – called the Elegy for Geraint.

About Paul Harper

Paul Harper is an experienced journalist who has been writing reports and investigations for more than a decade for British newspapers. He has worked for several top local and national news publications. Paul is now a press officer for a London-based university promoting academic research to the wider public. He has a passion for history, particularly the Anglo Saxon and Viking periods.

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