‘Arthur Britannicus’ and ‘Crusader’ series

The Forgotten Emperor series began with the May 2013 book ‘Arthur Britannicus,’  a sample of which is displayed below.  By late 2014 the trilogy somehow had expanded to six books.   By  2016, the first three books in the ‘Crusader’ suite ( ‘Crusader,’ ‘Treason’ and ‘Templar’) had also been published. 

All are available on Amazon or Amazon UK  as either e-books or as trade paperbacks.

Forgotten Emperor series:

Arthur Britannicus
Arthur Imperator
Arthur Invictus
The King’s Cavalry
A Fragile Peace
Arthur: War’s End

Crusader series:


These books are  available  under the Endeavour Press UK imprint.   Read a comprehensive review below, and also see some of the real history that is woven into this series.  Paul Bannister writes:” Britannicus followed the real third-century emperor Carausius, a Roman admiral who stole the Channel fleet and declared himself ruler of Britain (286 –  293 AD.)  The first book of the series closely follows history,  later books include Carausius in real events that occurred a short time after his death.

The ‘Crusader’ series stays very closely to the timeline of history. Frederick de Banastre is placed alongside the youthful Lionheart and later his successors, King John and the boy king Henry of Winchester. 

Read happily, or as the Romans said: ‘Lege Feliciter!’ 


Here’s a review of  ‘A Fragile Peace,’ by a US Military Academy historian (West Point) who is a Vine reviewer for Amazon and who has graciously given all nine books five-star ratings.

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful

5.0 out of 5 stars
Prodigious research takes you right there and keeps you there in the reality of the time
July 10, 2014

By Coolfire VINE VOICE

Bannister draws you right into the age and scene and keeps you there. And, quite possibly, one may learn something of interest. I find myself going to google (keeper of all knowledge and non-knowledge) quite a bit as I read this series.

A Fragile Peace is the fifth of this series. This series is based upon the real historical, and until recently forgotten, “Emperor Caesar Marcus Aurelius Mausaeus Carausius, Dutiful, Fortunate, the Unconquered,” also known historically as Arth, the Bear, and Caros. The real Carausius did not have the opportunity to enjoy life as long as depicted in this series into the 4th c (died around 293 BC), but such is quite fine when very well written as is this historical fiction.

As I’ve noted previously, this series is not a love story, nor is it romantic. The author depicts reality. No music plays in the background. Bannister has done epic historical research into the age as it relates to Roman military and all relating to Britannia of the age of this very real Arthur.

The main emphasis is upon action and considerations, both strategic and tactical, as must burden the mind of an Emperor (as he indeed was the 1st Emperor of Britain) who is faced with both external threats of invasions as well as serious domestic tribal uprisings.

In the case of this book Arthur is also faced with the terrible and historical plague which wiped out much of his forces as well as the population.

There are very personal tragedies as well as some detailed, well described combat scenes. One can even learn the construction of a light chariot. You never know …

This 5th book has a bit more subtle humor within once and awhile – not a lot mind you. Just a smidgeon.

Bannister has done the readers a nice service by including at the end extensive historical tie-ins to the book’s characters, events, and locations.

The man deserves a Hero Badge for his excellent research, which is prodigious (I haven’t used that word in a long, long time.)

Read the whole series and get to know Arthur, who, in my opinion, was the actual foundation for what became the lore of King Arthur.


The real, military history of ‘Arthur Britannicus.’


Britain’s forgotten emperor was a brilliant general, pirate-hunting admiral, civil administrator, diplomat, and military architect. He was also a thief. 

In 286 CE, Mauseus Carausius stole the Channel Fleet – the Classis Britannica – from the Romans, suborned several legions and seized the British throne.  It took the Romans a decade to get their colonia back, and in that time, Carausius defeated them twice, drove off the Saxons and united the British. 

The actions of this real king-emperor may be the true origin of the legend of King Arthur, because his name, burial place and Christianity are clues that uncannily fit the myths of the Once and Future King. 

The story begins in the region of the River Meuse, in what is now Belgium. Carausius was born there in about 250 CE, a Menapian sneeringly described by his Roman enemies as “of the lowest birth,’ but who actually may have been the son of a ranking official. His actions suggest he was educated and had a knowledge of literature and poetry.

 He was a skilled sailor who joined the Roman army and became commander of the Channel Fleet. His mission: to destroy the pirates infesting the straits between Gaul and Britain. To capture their land bases and to put down the wandering bandits called Bagaudae who were plundering Gaul, he was also given command of four legions, some foreign auxiliaries and a half legion or so of mercenaries. 

Carausius’ forces included infantry and cavalry elements of the 2nd and 3rd Parthian legions levied a century earlier by the emperor Septimius Severus to invade Persia. He also had charge of infantry of the 2nd Augusta that had put down the British queen Boadicea’s rebellion, plus a mixed force of the 8th Augusta that had also served with Septimius Severus on his Persian campaign. Carausius additionally had the 1st Minervia legion under his command, veteran, hardened troops who had held the Rhine frontier and who would prove invaluable. In addition to his regular troops, he mustered mercenaries and foreign auxiliaries who included some fine cavalrymen he scooped up in Britain. 

These were Sarmatians stationed near Lancaster and Preston, and were horsemen originally from the Steppes. Some 5,000 of them had been forcibly relocated two centuries before, to help hold the Wall against invading Picts, and they had settled in the northwest of Britain, breeding horse herds and living as they had for centuries in wagons, not houses, after their military service ended. 

Carausius spent years based in Boulogne cleaning northern Gaul of pirates and bandits, and realised that a good way to pay his troops was to intercept Channel pirates as they returned from their raids and relieve them of their loot. Word of his enterprise went to the emperor Maximian in Milan, who was acutely aware of the trend for ‘barracks emperors’ to be elected ruler by their men after overthrowing the incumbent. The problem was so bad, with 14 soldier emperors following each other in 33 years that he ordered Carausius to report to him. 

The admiral, aware that this would probably cost him his head, instead took his well-paid, loyal troops and in 286 CE moved them and the Roman fleet across the strait to Dover. From there, he gathered land forces including some highland Picts and marched on the sub-capital of York to defeat the Roman governor Quintus Bassanius, whose forces he promptly recruited. 

Because the Romans had allowed their navy to atrophy, Maximian could not promptly launch a fleet to invade Britain, and the vague history of the time suggests that the fleet he did build was defeated more than once by Carausius’ experienced sailors. One defeat was blamed on ‘an inclement sea.’ Maximian, who was co-emperor with his Serb countryman Diocletian had plenty on his hands with tribes along the Rhine, so it was seven years before he was able to re-take Boulogne. The citadel seemed impregnable, but Maximian applied tried and true Roman siege tactics, building a double palisade around the city to contain the defenders and to protect his own rear from attack, and diverted the river Liane to create a moat. 

The chief weakness of a siege was that the citadel could be supplied from the sea, so Maximian put his engineers to work. Because the harbour drained almost dry at low tide, he was able to throw a double fence across the 300-yard entrance, filled the gap with shingle and mounted a strong force with artillery catapults to protect the barrier. As the flood tide was not much more than six feet deep at the entrance, the palisade was enough to block shipping, relief was cut off and Boulogne fell. 

Meanwhile, across the Channel, Carausius was reinforcing the coast from the Isle of Wight to Scarborough with forts and signal towers to n strengthen the defences of Britain’s forefoot against further Saxon invasions – the coast was called the Saxon Shore partly because Saxons had attempted to settle in Kent – and to guard against a Roman invasion. He also built the Car Dyke as a Fens drain, defensive line and waterway to York, he reinforced the Wall of Hadrian and he fought a number of battles to drive off the Saxons, bringing peace to Britain for decades. He issued excellent currency, including coins that bore propaganda such as ‘A New Generation Has Arrived From Heaven Above,’ ‘Rome Renewed,’ and in a bold bid to lend legitimacy to his rule, struck coins which showed the usurper with Maximian and Diocletian under the legend: “Carausius and his Brothers.”  

But he did rule well. Britain’s earliest historian, the monk Gildas described a ‘lord of battles’ whose decisive victory at Mount Badon routed the Saxon invaders for a lifetime. The triumph was so celebrated that Gildas did not bother to name the victor, noting only that ‘Arth’ – Celtic for ‘The Bear’ – was such a great overlord that the mighty King Cuneglasus of Powys humbly acted as his master’s charioteer. 

Carausius was a thick-necked bear-like man and experts make a linguistic link between ‘Caros’ and ‘Artorius,’ making a strong suggestion for the root of the Arthurian legends. At the end, Carausius was betrayed. In 293 CE, his treasurer Allectus either assassinated him or betrayed him in battle and seized the throne for himself. Three years later, Constantius Chlorus (“The Pale”) invaded under cover of fog and defeated Allectus to re-take Britain.

 Despite his achievements, Carausius has only two known memorials other than his coinage. One is a third-century Roman gravestone carrying the staurogram cross of a Christian, the earliest found in Wales. Its Latin inscription translates as ‘Carausius lies here in this heap of stones’ and the headstone from was moved to a royal graveyard in Penmachno, reputed burial place of the father of the greatest Welsh king. The Romans redacted all of Carausius’ other memorials, except one, a milestone that had been inverted and re-used. The buried portion concealed the honorifics the Romans wanted erased: “Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Mauseus Carausius, Dutiful, Fortunate, the Unconquered Augustus.” 

It should add: ”The Forgotten First Emperor of Britain.”


Footnote:  The Carausius headstone can be seen at the church of St Tudclud, Penmachno, North Wales;   the Carausian milestone is on exhibit at the Tullie House Museum, Carlisle.