John Carter: Torn from Phoenician Dreams
Part Two: The Lives and Times of John Carter
A speculative chronology of the
lives and times of John Carter of Virginia and Mars,
as he knew them and as he knew naught of them.
In John Carter is Phra the Phoenician Dr. Peter Coogan established that John Carter began his existence as Phra the Phoenician. Philip Jose Farmer had previously speculated that John Carter had been Norman of Torn in the article The Arms of Tarzan. John Carter: Torn from Phoenician Dreams: Part One, the first part of a series of articles focusing on the life, times and influences of John Carter reconciled the discrepancies between the speculations of Dr. Coogan and Mr. Farmer, reconciled the discrepancies in the account of Phra the Phoenician as compared to the historical record and provided a psychological explanation for the periods of self- induced amnesia which culminated in the creation of the persona of John Carter.
Our earliest records of John Carter's life are the memoirs of Phra as edited by Edwin Arnold and published as The Wonderful Adventures of Phra the Phoenician. However his account is not entirely accurate given that he was writing it as he remembered it not as it truly happened to him. Events as Phra remembered them are in blue text, the events in black text are speculations of about Phra's life that were hidden to him.
After the Morgor War, John Carter would eventually remember his life as Phra. He would also remember periods of his life which occurred when Phra was supposedly sleeping. How this occurred we are not at liberty to disclose. During these periods of amnesia he assumed many identities; many obscure, but a couple are rather startlingly renown.
88 B.C. Phra was born in Tyre
58 BC. Phra lived among the British for a few years. He was married to Blodwen and they had one child.
56 or 55 B.C Phra was present at one of the landings of Caesar. Taken captive, he escaped but was branded a traitor by his wife's kinsman and was forced to take part in a druidic sacrificial rite. Wounded unto death by a bronze adz to the back of the neck, Phra appeared to die.
408 AD Phra the Phoenician awoke in a cavern. Britain had become Romanized during his great sleep. Phra was able to speak Latin and had dealt with the Romans in the course of his business and so was able to become acclimated to this new era fairly rapidly. A scrubber at a Roman bath discovered that Blodwen had covered Phra's upper torso with a tattoo detailing the story of her life. They had had one more child who was born after Phra's "death." This message from his long dead wife caused Phra to become even more grief stricken than he had already been. He underwent a personality change and became a libertine given to debauchery and libation. His dissolute lifestyle exhausted his funds, and he was forced to seek employment.
Phra became a guard in the service of Lady Electra, a Roman noblewoman, said to be the niece of the Emperor. Phra fell in love with Numidea, a slave girl. Lady Electra also fell in love with Phra and was enraged that he preferred a slave girl to her.
410 Emperor Honorius recalled the last of the Roman Legions from Britain. Phra aided Lady Electra and her house to flee from the encroaching Saxon barbarians. Due to an act of treachery, Phra and Numidea were plunged into a rapidly running stream and sent tumbling down river. Although Phra managed to pull both of them to safety on the river's shore and were helped by some friendly fisher folk, Numidea had drowned and Phra was near dead. As his body slipped into a healing coma, Phra went to sleep. Unable to bear the trauma of Numidea's death on top of the recent—to him—loss of Blodwen and his family, Phra's personality went into hibernation.
The fisher folk believed that this young, handsome man who slept and neither aged nor died was the product of some divine providence. They built a small shrine for him inside the woods and left him to his sleep.
430 Phra was found sleeping in
shrine by Myrddin. As Myrddin
examined him, Phra awoke. Phra
however experienced the first of his periods of dissociative
amnesia and was unaware of who he was, where he had come from, or how
come to be there. Myrddin named him Ambrosius Aurelius. According to some legends Myrddin also bore the name Ambrosius
and was called Merlin Ambrosius. It may
that Ambrosius was more of a title or
an actual name. Ambrosius is derived from
word ambrosia, which means "immortal." Ambrosia was the
substance that the Greek and Roman deities imbibed to retain their
youth. Myrddin, upon seeing Phra's
relative youth despite a twenty-year nap, realized that he was in the
select company as himself. Myrddin
retarded his aging
through measured doses of a bottle of the Elixir of Life he had
Although Myrddin is most often portrayed
as old man,
this image may have been an illusion or careful use of make up to
fact that he did not age
For example, Myrddin was said to have been a youth in the time of King Vortigern, who came to power in 425. Vortigern was building a tower, but the foundation kept falling. Vortigern consulted his magicians, and they told him he should find a boy without a father, kill him, and incorporate his bones and blood into the foundations of the castle. Myrddin was able to defeat the magic of the most powerful of Vortigern's magicians.(2) He predicted that Vortigern would fall, defeated by a dragon.(3) The use of magic is often portrayed as having a debilitating effect on the person using said magic, especially if it is black or evil magic. It may be that over use of this in his youth rapidly aged Myrddin so that he was in fact an older man, and despite access to a virtual youth serum was fated to remain aged beyond his years by a curse he could not remove. The elixir would grant him youth for a short time, but he would rapidly age to the age he had been cursed to remain. He used the elixir to maintain his vitality and to prevent himself from aging further.
Aurelius is a Roman family that means golden, and it was also applied to Saints. The name may have been chosen for political reasons as well to confer upon Merlin and also later upon Phra a sense of legitimacy by having familial ties to the Roman British aristocracy.
The close connection between Merlin Ambrosius and Ambrosius Aurelius was such that they were often confused with one another. In fact it may have been the legend of Ambrosius Aurelius (Phra) sleeping in a wooden shrine because of Numidea that was transformed into the tale of Merlin having been imprisoned in an oak by Nimue.
Despite his amnesia, Ambrosius Aurelius knew Latin. Merlin filled him on the current situation of Britain, which had fallen to various British, Celtic, and former Roman leaders vying for power. The Saxons had made great encroachments as well, and armed bandits roamed the countryside. Ambrosius Aurelius proved himself to be a great warrior when, using only a quarterstaff, he defeated six bandits who attacked Merlin.
Ambrosius' obvious distaste for Saxons and the fading yet still visible tattoo on his body gave Merlin an idea. The tattoo reminded Merlin of the dragon that he had prophesized would defeat Vortigern. He told Ambrosius Aurelius that he had a vision to unite Britain, drive out the Saxons, and create a society that would blend the best elements of Roman, Celtic, and British cultures. Merlin believed that if Ambrosius heeded his advice, they could achieve this goal.
436 Ambrosius Aurelius began gathering followers and fighting against Saxon invaders and those British who allied themselves with the invaders. According to legend, Ambrosius Aurelius was the son of the true King of Britain, who had been living in exile in Brittany. This may have been a legend that sprung up around Ambrosius Aurelius that Merlin used and built upon, or it may have been a complete fabrication created by Merlin to further their political and military goals.
437 Ambrosius Aurelius appeared in Britain, traditionally presented as, seen as, historically interpreted as returning from exile in Brittany. With Merlin's backing he quickly became leader of the pro-Roman faction Vortigern's apparent relative, Vitalinus (Guitolinus), fought against Ambrosius at the Battle of Wallop. The latter was probably victorious and was "given all the kingdoms of the western side of Britain".
c.459 . "Vortigern took refuge in the refortified hillfort of Tre'r Ceiri in Yr Eifl (the Rivals) in Lleyn, but Ambrosius pursued him and drove him south, via Nant Gwrtheyrn and the sea to Ergyng and a wooden castle on the old hillfort of Caer-Guorthigirn (Little Doward) above Ganarew. Here, the castle was miraculously struck by lightning, and Vortigern burned to death!" (4) Other accounts such as History of the Britons by Nennius state that it was a ball of fire from the sky that ignited the castle "fire fell suddenly from heaven, and totally burned the castle. Vortigern, the daughter of Hengist, his other wives, and all the inhabitants, both men and women, miserably perished: such was the end of this unhappy king, as we find written in the life of St. Germanus."
460 Ambrosius Aurelius took full control of Britain; led the British in years of back-and-forth fighting with Saxons. British strategy seems to have been to allow Saxon landings and to then contain them there.
As the years went by, Ambrosius Aurelius did not aged. He relied upon Merlin's ability to mask his age, yet they knew that the time was coming close for Ambrosius Aurelius to pass on. They created a younger brother of Ambrosius Aurelius named Uther. Uther closely resembled Ambrosius but did not have gray hair and was clean shaven in the Roman fashion. In this way Ambrosius could wash the powder from hair and shave the white stained beard to become Uther.
A comet was spotted in the night skies, and Merlin saw this as a sign. According to legend, Uther and Merlin were sent by Ambrosius Aurelius to Ireland, from which they were to return with the Giant's Ring and place it in Britain as a war memorial; thus came the legend that Merlin used his magic to build Stonehenge. As Uther and Merlin were supposedly building Stonehenge, Ambrosius was poisoned and died.
Actually Merlin, seeing the comet as a portent, used the opportunity to end Ambrosius' reign. He also decided to search for the comet, which was rumored to have fallen to earth, and see if he could locate it. Uther (Phra) and Merlin left Ambrosius' castle. Phra doubled back and continued his guise as Ambrosius. He faked his own death by pretending to be poisoned, collapsing, and having a half-full poisoned wine cup nearby.
After Aurelius was entombed, Phra left the tomb and met up with Merlin, who was indeed at Stonehenge. He had located the fallen meteorite and had forged a sword with the metallic ore he discovered. In the forging and tempering process, Merlin drew some of Phra's blood to bind the blade and the king. The sword was named Cald Bog—Hard Lightning. Merlin's use of magic at Stonehenge did not go undetected, and so was born the legend that he had built Stonehenge, when in reality it had been there for thousands of years.
Uther and Merlin returned to Ambrosius' seat, and Uther assumed the title of High King. He took the name Pen Dragon or Head Dragon to signify his fulfillment of Merlin's well known. He called for all of the client kings and dukes to come to his seat and swear fealty to him. Igraine, the wife of Duke Gerlois of Cornwall, was an exceedingly beautiful woman. Uther fell in love with her upon sight. Despite a mutual attraction, she would not break her marriage vows. Gerlois however noticed the looks between Uther and his wife and grew angry. He broke the alliance with Uther and went to war with him.
Merlin refused to use his magic to make this romantic situation go as Uther wished, stating no good would come of the pairing. Uther could however not concentrate on their immediate goals and began losing his war with Gerlois. As to why Igraine instilled such passion on sight in Uther—he had not fallen so deeply, madly in love while living as Ambrosius—the answer is simply he had not met the right woman. Igraine evoked such passion in Uther because she stirred in Phra's sleeping mind the memories of Blodwen.(5)
465 Merlin finally relented and used his magic to disguise Uther as Gerlois. Whether this was a glamour he put upon Uther or whether Merlin accompanied Uther into the castle and used a form of mesmerism to make everyone they encountered believe that Uther was Gerlois is unknown. Even Igraine was fooled by the guise, although that Uther was able to duplicate Gerlois exact methods of marital congress is rather incredible. Perhaps because of her earlier attraction to Uther, Igraine was not as fooled as she let on. While Uther was trysting with Igraine, the true Gerlois was killed on the battlefield. This may be one of the terrible things that Merlin predicted would arise of this sordid affair. Igraine agreed to marry Uther almost immediately.
A child was born of this union, a child that Merlin collected from the mother. It is said that this was Merlin's price for performing magic for Uther. Actually it appears that the child was stillborn and severely deformed, and Merlin secretly buried the body in the woods. Although it is most likely this was merely a tragic yet rather common stillbirth, rumors were already circulating that Merlin had used magic to disguise Uther as Gerlois. The stillborn and deformed child might have been seen as a curse, as the tragic result of using magic as Uther had wished. The belief would have been that while Uther was filled with whatever magic Merlin had used, the magic negatively affected his seed and caused a deformed child. It would not have been politically expedient for it to be known that the king had fathered a monster. For this reason Merlin encouraged the notion that the child was being raised in secret and being taught to be a great king. Merlin may have been planning ahead.
As Uther, Phra was not as successful as he had been as Ambrosius Aurelius. There are several reasons for this. Having defeated most of the foreign invaders, e.g. the Saxons, the British princes were not united against a common enemy and so lost their focus and began to squabble among themselves. In addition to maintaining a Saxon-free Britain, Uther was forced to settle many internal disputes, often by force of arms. Uther was not perceived as an inspiring figure around whom the nobles could gather. He was rather seen as the younger brother of a great man and one who it is rumored seduced the wife of one of his sworn men. That he married her after his sworn man's death did not matter; it was the idea of his betrayal of the trust between liege and client that eroded the foundation of allegiance to the High King.
There was also the matter of Igraine. After her son was taken from her she became a changed woman. She removed herself from Uther's court, taking with her the daughters from her marriage to Gerlois. She is said to have taught her daughter Morgan Le Fey the arts of Celtic magic, including the darker worship. Some other accounts state that she became a devout Christian and studied religious texts, leaving servants to tend to her daughters' education. Without Igraine by his side, Uther felt lost. Uther's personal troubles cast a shadow over his political life.
As Uther became more involved with internal disputes, the Saxons began to land upon Britain once more and make successful attempts to establish themselves. A few years after taking her leave of him, Igraine died from what would be known as the Yellow Plague. This also brought upon Uther a serious depression and with it a desire to lose himself in action.(6)
Feeling ineffective as Uther and seeing that the situation was decaying rapidly, Phra decided it was time to die again. Merlin agreed that Uther's presence was too disruptive but that it was too soon to make a transition. There was however a way to ease the transition of power by having Uther cover himself in glory on the Continent, return triumphant and seemingly succumb to his war wounds, allowing the peaceful transition of his "son" to take his place.
469 Anthemius, the Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, provided Merlin and Phra with an opportunity to fulfill this plan when he appealed to the British for military help against the Visigoths. Reliable accounts by Sidonius Apolonaris and Jordanes name the leader of the 12,000 man Breton force, Riothamus. Riomathus was not a name but a title; it means greatest king and refers to the Uther's title as High King of Britain.(7)
There is a confusion of names here. There was a King of Brittany named Riatham, who lived circa 435-470. However, he appears quite clearly in the Breton pedigrees of the Princes of Domnonée, recorded in the lives of several saints. He is there recorded as a son of Prince Deroch II, though external evidence would suggest he was a son of Prince Deroch I and grandson of Guitol. Like so many Breton princes, Riatham appears to have been exiled to Britain after his father's death, presumably in the midst of a civil war. He eventually returned though and killed the usurping general, Marchell. Thus the true royal Domnonian line was restored. Riatham may even have been recognized as King of all Brittany.
Riothamus Uther of the British and Riatham of the Bretons combined their forces to drive back the Visigoths. Their conjoining led to much of the confusion about their names and backgrounds.
Despite a promising campaign, the bulk of the combined British/Breton force was wiped out in battle against Euric, the Visigothic king, and the survivors, including Riothamus, vanished and were never heard from again.
Merlin and Uther's plan came to naught as Uther's forces were defeated, and he stuck down by a serious but not fatal wound. The wound was bad, but not bad enough to send Phra/Uther into one of his healing comas. Yet despite having survived the blow, Uther was seen to have fallen with what appeared to be a fatal blow. Survivors of the battle spread stories of Uther's demise.
Hoping to dispel the rumors of Uther's death, Merlin returned to Britain. It was too late. Uther was known to have fallen in battle. The internal strife among the British kingdoms increased, as did the Saxon incursions. Uther's return would cause more chaos than it resolved. "Arthur" was still too young to come to power. Merlin created a unifying symbol to prevent the collapse of the social order that Merlin and Ambrosius had created and to keep alive the dream of a culture based on the best of traits of the Romans, Celts, and British. Merlin took Uther's sword Cald Bog, forged from the fallen star, and thrust it into a stone with the legend that, "Whosoever withdraws the sword from the stone is rightful King of Britain." It became a contest among the various kings to attempt to draw the sword. Merlin retired to renew his studies of ancient lore. It is possibly during this time that he married Vivian, the Lady of the Lake.
Once Phra was healed up, he knew that returning to England as Uther was no longer an option. Seeking revenged for his great defeat, he rounded up a force of men, made his way to Arles, and joined up with Anthemiolus, the son of the Western Roman Emperor Anthemius. Euric, king of the Visigoths, seeing the repeated changes of Roman emperors, attempted to bring Gaul under his rule, which brought him in direct conflict with the Western Roman Emperor.
471 AD Anthemiolus met Euric in battle. "Anthemiolus was sent to Arles by his father, the Emperor Anthemius, along with Thorisarius, Everdingus, and Hermianus the Count of the Stables. King Euric encountered them on the other side of the Rhone and, after killing the generals, devastated everything."(8) After this defeat the Emperor Anthemius abandoned any efforts to regain lost territory.
Phra traveled to Armorica, and while biding his time waiting for Merlin's signal to return to Britain he made contact with Romano-Celtic British refugees who had established kingdoms there. He established his identity of Arthur there. Arthur seemed to be man in his late teens, although this does not seem to be the result of magic but rather the result of the hidden Phra's persona's acting ability.
477 AD Saxon chieftain Aelle landed on the Sussex coast with his sons. The British engaged him upon landing, but his superior forces besieged them at Pevensey and drove them into the Weald. Over next nine years, Saxon coastal holdings gradually expanded in Sussex.
480 AD Merlin appeared at the site of the sword in the stone. He announced that Britain needed its king lest it fall forever into darkness. From all of the lands of Britain kings, princes, and nobles journeyed to the site of the sword. Among these were the nobles of the Breton kingdoms. Arthur accompanied Ector and his two grown sons to Britain to partake in the great contest. Arthur was of course not Cei's squire, and the story of his removing the sword unknowingly were also part of Arthurian legends that have accrued to this event. Arthur pulled the sword from the stone and was proclaimed by Merlin to be the rightful king of Britain. The spell that Merlin had laid upon the sword was "keyed" to respond to Phra's blood, which had been incorporated into the blade when it was forged.(9)
482 Arthur wedded Guinevere (Gwenhwyfar), daughter of Gwrawd "Gwent," the King of Gwent
480-496 Arthur spent the next few years in constant battle, consolidating his kingdom and driving out the Saxon invaders. Unfortunately because of being thrust into the stone, the sword Caladbolg was weakened and broke in half during battle. Merlin took the sword to his wife Vivian, the Lady of the Lake, whose artistry in metallurgy was greater than his. They reforged Caladbolg and its blade, infusing in it the strength of adamantine (diamond). She also created a sheath made of a silver material that was the only scabbard which would hold the sharp blade without being cut through. The legend grew around Arthur that the scabbard kept him from all harm, even the ravages of age.
Shortly after taking over Uther's seat, Arthur was visited by Morguase of Lothian, wife of King Lot and daughter of Igraine by Gorlois. A moment of weakness with her would cost Arthur his kingdom. She seduced him. This was in part because he was a handsome young man and also because she was a woman on the make; she wished for her husband and sons to have places of honor in Arthur's realm. After their tryst Morguase reacted with horror. She had not believed the tales of him being Uther's son. Yet upon Arthur was the same sort of birthmark that Uther had borne.(10) Although this knowledge put a damper on any further relationship between them, Arthur did bring her sons Gawain, Gaheris, Agravain, and Gareth into his circle.
Arthur's claim to the throne was legitimized by the appearance of Igraine at Uther's seat. Although she and Uther had been separated for a long time she immediately recognized him as closely resembling the dead king. She announced that Arthur was the son stolen from her by the wizard Merlin.
In a series of battles, twelve major ones that Nennius records, Arthur and Merlin recreated Ambrosius Aurelius' realm and expanded it. He drove out the Irish invaders from Wales and pushed toward the Saxon enclaves in Southern Britain.
496 The Siege of Mount Badon. British forces under the command of Arthur defeated the Saxons under the command of King Esla of Bernicia and possibly Cerdic of Wessex. Following the victory at Mt. Badon, the Saxon advance was halted with the invaders returning to their own enclaves. Moving north, Arthur pushed into Northern Britain and Scotland. From thence he moved into Ireland, defeating the Irish High King in single combat. Irish folklore collected from Irish oral tradition is not favorable toward "Arthur of Britain," who appears in Irish sources as a rapacious invader with few similarities to the Arthur of medieval romance.
506. Arthur and Merlin commissioned a special metal-shod ship, Prydwen, that would make them unbeatable against the Saxon ships. With this ship Arthur was able to turn the tide against the preying ships of the Saxons.
510 Arthur took the British navy to aid the King of Brittany (Armorica), Hoel I "The Great," one of his vassals, in repelling a sea-borne attack by the Visigoths of Spain. Many of the Breton royal house fled to Britain, including Budic [II], who sought refuge at the court of King Aircol "Lawhir" of Demetia (Dyfed).
511 Arthur repelled an invasion of Britain by attacking Danes, Norse, and Jutes; and also suppressed a rebellion of the barbarians (Anglo-Saxons) in Britain. Arthur expelled Aesc of Kent that year. Cerdic of Wessex returned again to Britain with another force of foreign mercenaries that year but was once more defeated by Arthur and fled back into exile.
512 Arthur carried the war with the Scandinavians overseas and attacked them in their homelands, Arthur’s "North Sea War." Johannes Magnus, a Swedish historian of the sixteenth century, speaks of the expedition of Arthur to Scandinavia, and narrates the circumstances that led to it. Arthur occupied Hlade, the Norse capital, and made a treaty with the Norse king Olbricht; he occupied Jellinge, the Jute capital, and made a treaty with the Jute king Gebolf; and he occupied Leire, the Danish capital, and made a treaty with the Danish king Aschillus. Tysilio’s "Chronicle" also gives an account of Arthur’s expedition to Scandinavia; however, the details of it vary so much as to show that Tysilio had never seen the account given by Johannes Magnus.
513 The British under Arthur invaded Gaul from the north and occupied Northern Gaul; while the Bretons from Armorica under Hoel I invaded Gaul from the west and occupied Western Gaul; while Ostro-Goths from Italy under Theodoric "The Great" invaded France from the south and occupied Southern Gaul. Arouz, Count of Flanders, resisted Arthur’s advance, but was finally overcome. Meanwhile, Claudas, Lord of Bourges, resisted the advance of Hoel I, but Arthur shortly came to Hoel’s aid and defeated Claudas and his allies, that is, other Frankishdukes. After which all the other French nobles called for a truce and came to terms with Arthur. Arthur and his vassals met with Theodoric "The Great" (called Ogrfan Ogyrvan; Gogvran "Gawr", i.e., Gogfran "The Giant" in British folklore) at Lyons in great pomp and ceremony where they made a treaty dividing France between them.
Believing that Arthur was close to achieving their goals and could do without his advise for a while Merlin went on sabbatical. Deciding to further his education of arcane lore Merlin traveled first to Rome, Greece and then Asia.
513-517 Arthur's campaigns in Europe to drive back the Visigoths and to extend his and Merlin's vision of a Romano-Celtic-British Empire brought him against the Theodoric and his brothers, the Kings of the Franks and then against the might of Rome itself. This proved to be too much for his forces to defeat and Arthur was forced to retreat to Breton. Word reached him that while he had been expanding the British empire afar, it had been crumbling from within. A coalition lead by his "half sister" Morgause and their son Medraut had made an alliance with several Saxon lords to open Britain to them if they would aid the pair in overthrowing the reign of Arthur. During this campaign, Anhir, Arthur's son by Guenivere, was killed. Arthur was so enraged by his son's death that he went about punishing the rebellious British with terrible severity and ravaged the whole British Isles. His methods were so extreme that the clergy begged him to show clemency to the people of Britain. He relented in his brutality.
517-521 As Arthur quelled the rebellion and once again fought against Saxon incursions, other parts of his empire rebelled, including Ireland, Scotland, parts of Wales, and finally Armorica. He concentrated on consolidating his position as High King once more and began to institute reforms to create a society of laws and justice. Joining Arthur's forces in this period was a young man of Roman descent who stated he was the commander of the last Roman Legion in Britain, The Sixth, although all of these "Romans" were descendents of Roman soldiers and had been born in Cymri or Caledonia. The young man, Ventidius Varro, bore some resemblance to Arthur. (11)
521-533 It was during this period that many of the actions later incorporated into the grail legends arose. Arthur reformed the government, pardoned his rebellious lords, and even brought his illegitimate son Medraut into the fold, although he stopped at acknowledging him as his son. Medraut, however, made it well known that he was Arthur's son. This angered Guinevere who had heard of Arthur's other trysts, such as with the daughter of Alles or the daughter of Theodoric of Rome. She also feared that if Arthur acknowledged Medraut he would throw her aside to make Medraut's inheritance legal. Medraut made certain that rumors to this effect reached her ears. She made an alliance with Lancelot, her protector. Medraut then made it common knowledge that Lancelot and Guinevere were having an affair. Arthur was forced to sentence her to be burnt at the stake in keeping with the codes of justice he had created. Lancelot however freed her and they fled to his castle in France. Arthur pursued them and laid siege to Lancelot’s castle. A truce was arranged, and Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot met secretly to decide what to do, for they did not have the heart to fight one another. Lancelot went off into self-imposed exile, and Guinevere entered a convent and became a nun.
Medraut began encouraging Arthur to once again expand the empire, to bring the age of reason and justice to Europe and rekindle the Roman Empire. Lacking the advice of Merlin and heartbroken at the loss of Guinevere and Lancelot, he agreed. Having no one else he could depend upon and knowing Medraut was popular with the populace, Arthur left him in charge of the British forces while Arthur once again took his expansionist policies to Europe.
Within two years, Medraut had consolidated his position to such a degree that he declared Arthur dead. To further his claims for legitimacy, he had Guinevere kidnapped from her nunnery and brought to his castle for a forced marriage.
536 Merlin returned from his journey of learning only to discover Arthur had not accomplished what they had planned. Merlin was commonly believed to have been trapped in a Hawthorne bush or shut away in a crystal cave by Nimue during this period.
537 Upon Arthur's return to Britain, his forces were met by a huge army commanded by Medraut. Despite their numerical superiority, Medraut's forces took heavy losses and were forced to retreat. Legend says that Arthur and Medraut fought three battles: the first in Kent at Richborough, where Arthur came ashore; the second in Wessex at Winchester, where Arthur liberated his queen Guinevere; the third and last in Cornwall at Camelford, then called Camlan.
At the battle of Camlan Medraut was killed and Arthur was wounded near unto death. Merlin however knew that chances were that he would recover and awaken from his sleep. Merlin stated that he had Arthur taken to the Island of Avalon, which lay off the coast of Lyonnesse, where he would sleep until he was needed once more. However Merlin did not disclose the actual location of Arthur's cairn, which was on a small island in the marshes some ten or so miles from Glastonbury Abbey. So that Arthur would not be slain in his sleep had he been found by any of Medraut's follower, Merlin stripped him of all but his kirtle and placed his arms and armor in a different location.
Merlin saw no hope that his vision of a great civilization could be built in Europe, but that he needed to start anew in a new land. Knowing of the lands to the west where St. Brendan had visited, he convinced Ventidius Varro and his "Legion" to establish a new Roman Empire in the unknown lands of the west. Using the iron ship Prydwen, they traveled to ancient America where Ventidius Varro made himself King of the Western Edge of theWorld, known by the titles of Nuitzition, Huitzilopochtli and Atoharo.(12)
877 Phra awakened, cured of his near fatal injuries sustained as Arthur. As before, he awakened with dissociative amnesia and wandered from "Avalon." Fortunately he wandered into Glastonbury Abbey, where the monks fed and clothed him. Although he spoke Latin and an archaic form of Saxon, they did not realize or even suspect he was their king returned. After he learned the current language and seemed to have recovered from whatever ailment had possessed him, they gave him the name of Roger and set him up as a cowherd. He built a cow shed on Athelney Island, over his cairn.
877-878 In a surprise attack during the winter of 877/878, the Vikings again overran Wessex and scattered the Wessex Army, whereupon, King Alfred was reduced to wandering among the woods and swamps of England, living off the land with only a few retainers. Alfred set up his headquarters in a cowherd’s hut on the Isle of Athelney in the fens of Somerset, an inaccessible marshy area where the Vikings could not find him. From there Alfred began to strike out at the Vikings in a campaign of guerrilla warfare, in which Roger the cowherd took part.
878 Alfred was pleased at the cowherd's desire to fight back against the invading forces. He was quite pleased when the cowherd turned out to be a natural soldier with an affinity for such guerilla tactics. Roger remembered having been a solider but could not remember when or how. Alfred thought perhaps Roger had been injured in such a way as to make him lose his memory.
Alfred emerged from his hideout the spring of 878, rallied his countrymen to arms, and launched a counter-offensive against the Vikings. He undertook the systematic liberation of the country from its foreign occupiers. Alfred defeated the Vikings at Edington, Wiltshire, in 878 in a string of victories.
880 The Vikings were completely driven out of Wessex. Roger became a staunch companion and was well regarded by Alfred for his advice, not only in military matters but also in administrative ones.
893 The peace treaty was broken by the Vikings. They renewed their attacks and made a determined effort to re-conquer England. This time Alfred proceeded to rollback the frontiers of the "Danelaw" territory of the Vikings, and, after defeating the Vikings in a series of battles over a period of three years, extended his sway over the whole country. Here England as a united kingdom under one sovereign grew out of Alfred’s kingdom as shires proceeded from London and eventually covered the whole country following the path of Alfred's recovery of the country from the Vikings
895 Roger fell with a Danish spear in his stomach. Apparently dead, he did not however corrupt. Alfred, who had nearly become a priest before being asked to become king, was certain that his friend had been a saint sent by God to drive the pagan Saxons from England. He arranged that Roger be kept in a small reliquary in Canterbury Abbey.
1050 Abbot Wulfric of St. Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury, embarked on a flamboyant program of building work at his abbey. He added a further western chapel and bell-tower to the monastic complex and began to join St. Mary's to the Abbey Church with a huge rotunda based on that of St. Benigne at Dijon. Disturbed by the reconstruction going on about him, Phra awakened with amnesia and climbed out his tomb. His awakening went without notice. Stealing clothes, he worked as a laborer as he got his bearings.
1053 Death of Godwin; his son Harold succeeded him as Earl of Wessex. Earl Harold of Wessex began a program of building at Waltham Abbey, which included the addition of a huge eastern crossing. Phra, using the name Robert and posing as a laborer called out a pointer or two to the Earl Wessex during Harold's sword play In a good humor, the Earl threw a sword to the laborer and asked him to teach him the finer points of swordplay. After Phra defeated Harold in short order, Harold had him join his staff as a Master of Arms (weapons instructor).
1063 Harold and his brother Tostig, the earl of Northumbria, subdued Wales. Robert (Phra) accompanied them and was invaluable not only in the fighting but also in providing sound advice on battle strategy.
1064 Harold was shipwrecked in Normandy; while there, he swore a solemn oath to support William of Normandy's claim to England. In this shipwreck Robert was drowned. He went into a coma from which he did not awaken. Harold sent him to the best healer in all of England. He resided in this healer's hut.
1066 Harold II was crowned king the day after Edward the Confessor died. Harold's brother Tostig and his ally Harold Hardraada of Norway invaded England. Harold defeated them at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, killing both. In the Battle of Hastings nineteen days after battle of Stamford Bridge, William of Normandy landed at Pevensey, defeated and killed Harold. William of Normandy became William I, the Conqueror, first Norman King of England (to 1087)
Phra the Phoenician awoke. Phra regained consciousness in a hermit's hut on the eve of the battle of Hastings. He remembered nothing since falling asleep in 410. The hermit was astounded at his lack of knowledge. Phra overheard and saw Harold talking with his wife Adeliza. After Harold left to do battle with William the Conqueror, the hermit sent Phra to bear a message to the Earl of Mercia. He returned in time to see Harold perish. He struck a Norman solider, rescuing Editha, a young woman of Harold's retinue, from molestation. William gave the girl to a knight named Des Ormeux and ordered Phra be hung from the nearest tree. Phra overcame the guards sent to hang him and rescued Editha. They fled into the English woods and thence to her homestead of Voewood.
The above text in blue is how events progressed so far as Phra recorded them in his Memoirs which became the WonderfulAdventures of Phra the Phoenician. Having heard Phra had awakened Harold had come to see him. However after his initial awakening Phra had gone to sleep for two days so he was sleeping when Harold arrived. Harold realized he would have to go to battle without the counsel of his friend and advisor. He took time to grab a quick meal with his wife before riding off to meet William the Conquerer's forces. As Harold and his wife were eating, Phra awoke and went to eat. He recognized Harold as the King of England, although purportedly he had never seen him before. Something made Phra hang back in the shadows so Harold never actually saw him. Why Phra hung back in the shadows is never really explained. Perhaps he did not wish to disturb the monarch at his meal or perhaps the sight and recognition of Harold, whom he did not recall having met before, created a psychological confusion in Phra that caused Phra to stand hidden and indecisive. Harold finished his meal, said his goodbyes to his wife, and went off to battle. Phra was moved to console the crying Adeliza yet also held back from doing so. Instead he sought out the hermit who sent him on an errand to have the Earl of Mercia and his forces hurry to the battle.
Phra did as he was bid and arrived with the Earl of Mercia's forces in time to see the English forces broken and scattered.
1066-84 Phra married Editha and lived in relative peace for twelve years as a Saxon lord. They had two children. The Norman conquerors instituted a poll of all land holders and a mandatory pledge of allegiance to the crown. The Normans taking the poll treated Phra's Saxon servants and to an extent Phra and his wife as if they were beneath contempt because they were a conquered people. Angry with this, Phra defied the clerics who came to make the poll and refused to give them any information. He had a flash of fancy wherein his refusal to cooperate would lead to a general rebellion in which Editha as the last of the Saxon line could be put on the throne and kept there by the force of his sword.
However the Normans returned in an overwhelming force, and Phra and his family were forced to flee. They were spotted on the road and had to run for their lives. On the way Phra defeated a Norman knight in single combat but sustained no discernable injuries. They raced towards the presumed sanctuary of St. Olaf's Monastery. At first the priests refused them entry and the Normans nearly fell upon them; however, they were let into the monastery in the nick of time. Despite not having any discernable wounds or having suffered any sort of trauma other than losing his castle, Phra fell into a centuries-long nap.
When Phra came to consciousness in 1346, he found a marble statue of his beloved wife Editha and his little children. It would seem that they had not long survived him. As with other parts of his dissociative amnesia, Phra remembered events slightly differently than they actually occurred. It is probable that the family did not reach the shrine in time and the Normans killed Editha and the children before his eyes, shooting them down with arrows just as the doors were opening to the monastery. The monks dragged Phra inside, but could not save Editha and the children as they had already perished. The Norman knight's lance that broke against Phra's chest may have caused him severe internal injuries, which is why he slipped into a healing coma; the trauma of losing Editha and the children is why he later awoke with another case of dissociative amnesia.
1112 Waking up with amnesia, Phra stumbled out of the reliquary in which he had been placed. He wandered towards London. While on the road he was accosted by a knight who attempted to run him down for not showing the proper respect due his station. Phra ended up killing the knight and taking his arms and mount. Using these he established himself as a wandering knight under the name of Ferraut. Through a series of trial combats he achieved a small amount of fame for his prowess at arms. This fame eventually led to his being added to the King's guard, to guard especially the royal children. Sir Ferraut was one of the six guards who accompanied Matilda, King Henry I's daughter, to Germany when she married the Holy Roman Emperor Henry V.
1114 to 1125 Matilda and Ferraut were in Germany until Henry died and left no issue. Ferraut's duties were not onerous, and he kept his martial skills honed by being a well regarded champion of the recently invented sport of tourney.
1122 At one such tourney Ferraut had a favor tied to his arm by a beautiful young lady. Usually he would demur such favors, but Henry V said that it would be politically expedient for Ferraut to accept this particular favor. The favor belonged to Judith of Swabia, the wife of Duke Frederick II of Swabia. Bavaria and Swabia had come to an uneasy peace with the marriage of Judith and Frederick The duke and duchess had been trying for an heir but without much success, which had led to a distance between the couple.
1223 Early this year Judith bore a child, Frederick. Frederick's red hair dispelled any base rumors that Frederick was the dark-haired Sir Ferraut's son. Through an odd set of circumstances, Frederick would become the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire known as Frederick Barbarossa (Red Beard).
1225 The twenty-four year old Empress was recalled to her father's court when her husband died. Her champion, Sir Ferraut, accompanied her. A widower, Matilda felt that she was free to divulge her feelings towards her champion. Sir Ferraut acknowledged that he had yearned for her upon seeing her. (13). Sir Ferraut also became her lover. However because of his unknown origins and because she was a valuable commodity, Matilda soon found herself being bartered for dynastic ties.
1227 Matilda was forced by her father Henry I to marry Geoffrey of Anjou, the fourteen-year-old heir to the Count of Anjou. Theirs was not a happy marriage. Matilda left him three times and each time was sent back by her father, who desperately wanted a male heir. While Geoffrey took up with Adelaide of Angers, Matilda carried out her affair d'amour with Sir Ferraut. Due to the need of a male heir by both the English Crown and the Plantagenet County, none ever disputed the legitimacy of Henry I when he born in 1133. However the English Plantagenets continued to carry the facial features, if not always the coloring of Sir Ferraut for generations.
1135 In the summer, Geoffrey demanded custody of certain key Norman castles as a show of good will from Henry; Henry refused, and the pair entered into war. Henry's life ended in this sorry state of affairs of war with his son-in-law and rebellion on the horizon.
Despite having sworn to uphold the claim of Matilda to the crown of England, the English barons and Henry I's nephew Stephen refused to acknowledge her accession. Stephen was crowned king by public acclaim with papal approval.
1139 Stephen proved to be a poor king, as cited in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. "In the days of this King there was nothing but strife, evil, and robbery, for quickly the great men who were traitors rose against him. When the traitors saw that Stephen was a good-humoured, kindly, and easy-going man who inflicted no punishment, then they committed all manner of horrible crimes . . . And so it lasted for nineteen years while Stephen was King, till the land was all undone and darkened with such deeds, and men said openly that Christ and his angels slept."
Matilda, along with her husband and her illegitimate half-brother Robert of Gloucester, invaded England. The trio dominated western England and joined a rebellion against Stephen in 1141. Robert captured Stephen in battle at Lincoln. Stephen's government collapsed and Matilda was recognized as Queen. The contentious and arrogant Matilda quickly angered the citizens of London and was expelled from the city. Stephen's forces rallied and attacked Empress Matilda's forces in Winchester. Empress Matilda fled the city while Robert's forces met Stephen's and fought them on retreat. Empress Matilda's forces were able to escape. Stephen's army captured Robert at Lincoln and exchanged Robert for the Stephen who had been captured earlier. Ferraut was wounded and fell in the fighting somewhere between Winchester and Lincoln. He was heard from no more. The pursuing army probably stripped the insensate body of armor and valuables and threw it into the woods.
Empress Matilda eventually tired of the struggle and returned to Normandy in 1148, leaving her son Henry to pursue his claim to the throne.
1188 Out of the woods of Nottinghamshire came a wild man. He was hairy, covered in dirt and leaves and ravenously hungry. Given food, he fled back once more into the darkness of the forest. Over the next few days people left offerings to this spirit of the woods, whom people called Robin Goodfellow after the forest sprite of the same name. People were certain that they were being spied upon and chores were completed as if by magic—a stone fence finished, wood chopped, etc. Mischief also was afoot as clothes were stolen and a bow and arrows.
A youth garbed in green and calling himself Robin appeared in the village of Loxley. Being extremely proficient with the bow, he found employment as a huntsman. Hearing of an archery contest sponsored by the Sheriff of Nottinghamshire, Robin decided to travel there and test his skill against other men.
While on the way to the village of Nottingham where the contest was being held, he met up with four foresters who asked him his business. Telling them of his intention to participate in the contest, they mocked his ability. Angrily he claimed he could pick out deer from a herd frolicking in the distance. When he felled the deer, the foresters refused to pay their wager and instead told him to be gone; he had killed the King's deer and so should by rights have his ears cropped.
Robin turned from this fight for they were the King's men, and he had no wish to be outlawed. One of the foresters sent a shaft at Robin, which quivered in a tree inches from his head. Robin turned and fired, transfixing the forester with a shaft through his heart. Robin was forced to kill two of the other foresters. The remaining forester turned and fled. Robin knew he was a wanted man and took refuge in the great forest of Barnsdale.
This was when Good King Harry ruled England; however, at this time Good King Harry was fighting with his son Good Prince Richard over the throne. King Henry was in France, and so while the governing of the state continued in his absence, many lords and officials over-reached themselves in power and grew corrupt. Over the next year Robin met and was joined by a variety of fellow outlaws, including his boon companion John Little. As his acts of poaching increased and the deaths of the foresters became attributed to him, a price was put upon his head.
In one early incident, the Sheriff set up an archery tournament to draw Robin out of the woods. The prize was to be a butt of October ale. In reality it was to be capture and execution as the Sheriff reasoned that the best archer would be Robin Hood. This was the famed incident in which he split an arrow already lodged in a target.
The Sheriff's plan went awry however; many of the bystanders turned out to be followers of Robin. In single combat Robin defeated the Sheriff and cut off his head.
Guy of Gisborne made arrangements with the new sheriff to collect the reward. Wearing armor of his own devising, created from cured horse hide and including a cowl and mask made from the beast's head, Sir Guy strode into the forest. Unwittingly meeting up with Robin by accident, Guy declared his plan to take Robin's head back to the Sheriff for the reward. After Robin proved by prowess on the bow that he was the Robin whom Guy sought, they fought with broadswords. Robin took Guy's head, mutilated the face, and stuck it on a spear. Donning the horsehide armor, Robin went to the Sheriff to collect his reward. Little John had however been captured by the Sheriff, and so when Robin saw this he told the Sheriff he would forgo the monetary reward for also having a chance to kill Robin's second-in-command.
The Sheriff, wishing to pocket the reward, agreed. Robin revealed his identity to John, and they fought their way clear. Little John killed the Sheriff with an arrow as they departed. Another Sheriff soon rose to take his place.
Robin and his Merry Men's efforts to keep the good people of Barndsale, Yorkshire, and Nottingham safe from corrupt officials, from nobles who over reached their stations and rebuked their duties, and from roving bands of brigands did not go unnoticed. After winning the war against his father and inheriting the Kingdom of England upon Henry II's death, good King Richard was about to leave England to go on the Third Crusade. He needed good fighting men and thought that Robin and his men would be doughty warriors.
Richard asked his mother Queen Eleanor to find Robin for him, thinking that the wily Robin might believe it to be a clever trap should he seek him out in person. Robin proved his identity to the Queen through a contest in which he beat several of the King's best men-at-arms. However, one cloaked man nearly matched him in prowess. The cowled man declared Robin a cheater and challenged him to a fight. Robin bested the man in a fight using quarterstaves, and it was then revealed that this was King Richard incognito.
1190-1192 Robin, Little John, and a few others joined Richard on the crusade. Robin lost favor with the King for disapproving of his actions at Acre, when innocent women and children were slaughtered.(14)
1192 Richard needed to return to England. It seems that Richard's brother Prince John was working with Philip II of France to usurp the throne of England. Robin and his troops were sent ahead of Richard. Richard was captured enroute to England by the Holy Roman Emperor and held for ransom, a ransom John refused to pay.
Robin and his fellows returned to their old hunting grounds to discover that much of the government structure had broken down and lawlessness had become a terror to the good people of Nottinghamshire. The brigands worked in concert with the Sheriff, who in addition to collecting new taxes imposed by "King" John also levied their own illegal taxes.
John had been called Lackland because his father's realm had been distributed to all his sons before John's birth. Richard had given John lands in part for his role in their rebellion against their father. It had also been among their father's last wishes for John to have been given lands. John became the Count of Mortain. He had been given lands equal to a small kingdom inside England. Among the lands given to John were those in the environs of Nottingham. One thing that rankled John was that he had not been given title to the castles in Nottingham or Tickhill.
Essentially, John wanted the castles that he had not received with their honors. Castles were status symbols and
having an honor without the honorial castle was an impossible situation for a 12th-century baron to countenance. However much land he held, the lack of the castles diminished his status amongst other barons. Moreover, both Nottingham and Tickhill Castles were strategically important. Whoever controlled them and their respective honors was someone to be reckoned with and well-placed to commit both mischief and, if necessary, an act of defiance. John seized the castles of Nottingham and Tickhill in 1191, and held them more or less continually for the next three years, despite the protests of the Council and his mother and attempts to dislodge him.
Robin and his Merry Men reformed even larger than before as more discontented and landless men rallied to the cause. He had seven score and perhaps more men. Robin and his men began to protect the citizens from the oppressive forces of the illegal government; they also embarked on a campaign to gather a ransom for Richard since John refused to pay it. They did this by robbing from the rich and the corrupt, including church officials.
It was during this period that Robin encountered Sir Ivanhoe and most of the exploits of Robin Hood in Nottingham actually occurred.
1194 Aided by Robin Hood and his Merry Men, King Richard laid siege to Nottingham Castle and took it. After the siege King Richard spent the day in Sherwood Forest.
1194-1199 Robin Hood and Little John accompanied King Richard when he went to war with the King of France to win back the continental possessions that John had bargained away.
1199 While besieging a castle at Chaluz, Richard received a crossbow bolt, the wound of which festered and Richard died of gangrene. Robin and Little John returned to England. Count John was now King John.
1129-1216 John's reign as King was a troubled one. He angered his French subjects by orchestrating the murder of his nephew Arthur of Brittany to forestall claims that the popular young man had more of a right to the throne than did he. He lost the last of his French possessions in 1205 and returned to England. In his absence, the Justicars and administrators appointed by Richard and trained by Henry II had run the nations smoothly without too much social unrest or injustice. Robin had met and become involved with a maiden named Marian. He and the Merry Men were looking forward to years of peace. When John returned to England, he was more directly involved in running the government. While in many ways he was a better king than Richard so far as being concerned about the realm and having ideas on how to increase its stature and his own, he proved to be very unpopular with the populous and nobility. This became especially true when he defied the Papacy and England was placed under a papal interdict in which masses could not be said or other sacraments administered by priests.
It was during this time that Robin met the man called Friar Tuck, who was a monk and a former soldier. It does not appear that he was actually a friar however.
As a result of John's struggle with the Pope, the King had to levy new taxes to pay tribute to Rome. Unhappy with the new taxes, his barons revolted.
Robin and his men were kept busy aiding the folk of Nottinghamshire against predations from the King's men, from the corrupt officials taking advantage of the chaos in government, and from the rebellious and often feuding barons. Robin Hood was loyal to the people of England rather than to this king. The discontented barons captured London in May 1215. At Runnymeade in the following June, John succumbed to pressure from the barons, the Church, and the English people at-large, and signed the Magna Carta. The document, a declaration of feudal rights, stressed three points. First, the Church was free to make ecclesiastic appointments. Second, larger-than-normal amounts of money could only be collected with the consent of the king's feudal tenants. Third, no freeman was to be punished except within the context of common law. The Magna Carta, although a testament to John's complete failure as monarch, was the forerunner of modern constitutions. John only signed the document as a means of buying time to keep his barons from forcing him to abdicate, and his hesitance to implement its principles compelled the nobility to seek French assistance.
It was about this time that that King John had all of his personal possessions, including the crown jewels, moved to Lincolnshire. Robin and his Merry Men set a trap and attacked the carriage and its escort at a river crossing. Despite the overwhelming odds against them, it looked as though Robin and his men would once again win the day, until the horses pulling the treasure panicked and the cart flipped over into the river. The treasure was lost. The loss of the crown jewels inspired the soldiers to fight more vigorously than Robin or his men had counted on. After losing several men, Robin called a retreat. Robin marked the trail to lead back to the site later on, but by the time they had returned most of the treasure had been washed away.(15)
The barons offered the throne to Philip II's son, Louis. John died in the midst of invasion from the French in the South and rebellion from his barons in the North.
1217 In the negotiations that followed John's death, the rebellious barons agreed to support Henry III, King John's nine year old son, under the regent William Marshall. They rallied and drove out the forces of the Dauphin, Louis. Robin and his men participated in the fight against the French forces.
For his part in the defense of the realm, Robin was granted an earldom. Although he called himself Robin of Loxley, his earldom was a small holding within Sherwood Forest. The defining characteristic of a forest is that it was governed by forest laws. Much of Sherwood was not a heavily wooded area. There were large fields, meadows, and even towns inside of Sherwood. Robin married Marian and they raised a family together. Because of Robin's eternally youthful demeanor, it soon began to be believed among the people who knew him that he was a spirit of the forest, equating him with the Green Man from Celtic mythology or a son of Herne the Hunter.(16)
1233–34 Baronial revolt against King Henry III over his use of French administrators. Robin sided with the barons in this particular revolt and was one of the few who had his title revoked and was outlawed. Robin and his family returned to the outlaw life in Sherwood.
1247 The newly appointed Sheriff of Nottingham captured Lady Marian as she visited the town market. Robin and his aging band gained access to Nottingham Castle. Although they managed to free Marian, Will Scarlet, Friar Tuck, and Milch the Miller's Son were killed. Marian soon died of her rigors from the combination of wounds and exertion. The Sheriff of Nottingham invaded Sherwood Forest with a large force of men under Lord Ranulf. In single combat Robin slew the sheriff and Little John slew Sir Ranulf. Robin was sorely wounded however, and Little John took him to the Prioress of Kirksly, who was Marian's cousin.
The Prioress was warned of his coming and set a trap for him. She had been the lover of the Sheriff of Nottingham. She sent for Red Roger, the Sheriff's brother.
Despite a warning from a local peasant woman who knew of the treachery afoot, Little John and Robin submitted to the ministrations of the Prioress. She bled him near unto death, and when he was greatly weakened Red Roger crept into Robin's room to slay him. Robin mustered his strength and fought back. He received another wound in the side before beheading Red Roger. Feeling the life ebb from him he lay back and grew still. Little John burst into the room and was going to kill the Prioress but Robin told him to slay not the Lady.(17)
Asking for a bow he told Little John to bury him where the arrow landed and shot an arrow out of the window.
Lay me a
under my head,
And another at my feet;
And lay my bent bow by my side,
Which was my music sweet;
And make my grave of gravel and green,
Which is most right and meet. (18)
Little John did as he asked, at first. He heard, however, that men of evil intent planned to dig up the body of Robin, cut off the head, and claim a reward for his death.
Little John dug up the body and covered the grave over again. Realizing that the body was not decomposing, he became convinced that the tales of Robin being a spirit of the woods might be true. He laid Robin in a grove in the forest between Nottingham and Derby and covered him with boughs and leaves. When Little John died a couple years no one knew where the true grave of Robin lay, still clad in his chainmail and with a broadsword placed under his crossed arms.
1243 The Gascon Jean de Vac, a superb swordsman and one of Henry III's men at arms defeated the king at sword practice. The angry King slapped Jean de Vac and spat upon him. Jean de Vac had grown old in the service of the English Kings, having been brought to England by King John, yet he hated all things English and these English Kings. This slap was the final insult. De Vac plotted revenge
He kidnapped the King's three year old son Richard. The King and Queen believed that the child had been thrown into the Thames and drowned.
1247 King Henry III and Queen Eleanor had another son they named Richard. He died of disease at the age of nine.
1243-1257 Jean De Vac raised the kidnapped Prince Richard as his son, naming him Norman of Torn. He trained Norman to be a master swordsmen and also instilled a great hatred towards the English and the Plantagenet Kings in particular. De Vac planned to use Norman to lead a rebellion against the king, pitting son against father with only De Vac knowing the truth. Details of De Vac's grievance against the Plantagenets and his tutoring of Norman of Torn are found in Edgar Rice Burroughs' The Outlaw of Torn.
1258 The Gascon Jean De Vac and his "son" Norman of Torn traversed the woods one morning in Norman's eighteenth year. They came upon a knight sleeping in a covered bower in rusted armor and tattered clothing. Norman prodded him with his sword; this proved to be a fatal mistake. The knight lurched to his feet with a scream of fury and launched himself at Norman, who defended himself with good account but soon faltered under the onslaught. De Vac joined in the fray and was astounded that the man was able to defend against two great swordsmen. De Vac landed a blow against the head of the strange knight, throwing him off balance. As the strange knight lost his balance and lurched forward, Norman lunged forward in attack. By happenstance the point of the stranger's broadsword was driven through Norman's gorget and into his throat
Seeing his work of years ended in one single blow, De Vac spun around to decapitate the senseless stranger. Rushing upon him, De Vac got his first good look at the knight's face. What he saw astounded him beyond belief, and he was forced to turn aside his blade at the last second so that it plunged into the dirt next to the man. The stranger knight bore a great resemblance to Richard Plantagenet, the just-killed Norman of Torn, enough so that they could be as brothers. De Vac wondered if this were one of Henry III's by-blows, or more fantastically some type of changeling. With his initial scheme ruined, De Vac thought of other possibilities, all of which were dependent on the stranger's cooperation. De Vac bound the knight tightly and then stripped Norman of his armor and placed his body in the grove of tree where the strange knight had lain.
The strange knight awoke after several hours and in a peculiar state. He claimed to remember nothing of himself, not his name, identity, or past. De Vac wondered if it were the clout on the head or just providence smiling upon him. De Vac fixed the man a draught of herbal tea, which was supposed to aid in healing his head wound, but actually it kept the man in a stupor. De Vac thought of a bold plan, one bolder than his previous scheme. He took the unconscious man to a witch woman of the woods, one who knew the old arts of the druids. He paid the old woman for a supply of a potion to keep the stranger is a confused state, but the key to his plan to have her tattoo a birthmark on the stranger's chest. After she had finished this task, he rewarded her with a swift and painless death.
Using the potion, he convinced the amnesiac that he was Norman of Torn and provided him with Norman's history. Even after the stranger's head wound healed, the brainwashing stood up. To his relief, De Vac discovered that the man was either a fast learner or was remembering skills and knowledge previously acquired. He learned French and skill at arms rapidly. The man appeared to be in his early twenties although at times he seemed older and at times even younger.
According to Phra's manuscript, edited by Edwin Arnold,
after losing his wife and children in 1084, Phra
slept until 1346. Phra's persona slept but
that he went through another period of dissociative
amnesia and fugue. It was during one of these periods that he became
by Jean de Vac that he was Norman of Torn.
speculated Jean de Vac used a potion that
kept the amnesiac
Phra in a state of confusion. De Vac's
rather crude methods of brain washing probably would not have been
had not Phra's desire for an identity to
void of his amnesia also played a role. Even so, "
De Vac had also had Phra tattooed once more, a tattoo that was supposed to be the birthmark of Richard Plantagenet.
After a sojourn
months, De Vac and "Norman" returned to
It was in this
Norman of Torn's band attacked the King's tax collectors.
against brigands and thieves and attacked the knights and nobles of the
aristocracy whenever they were abroad or even at their castles.
became intimidated by his new
On one occasion
he rescued a young woman and her party from being molested by some
Since he was not wearing his helm they saw his face and believed him to
Prince Edward. As he escorted her safely to the
smitten with this woman, he accepted the hospitality of the
Norman and Bertrade's love does not run an easy course as her father objected to the idea of her marrying a possibly low-born outlaw. As this troubled love affair played out, the larger drama of a rebellion led by Simon de Montfort of the Barons against King Henry IIII brewed:
In 1258[,] Henry levied extortionate taxes to pay for debts incurred through war with Wales, failed campaigns in France, and an extensive program of ecclesiastical building. Inept diplomacy and military defeat led Henry to sell his hereditary claims to all the Angevin possessions in
except France . When he assumed the considerable debts of the papacy in its fruitless war with Gascony , his barons demanded sweeping reforms and the king was in no position to offer resistance. Henry was forced to agree to the Provisions of Oxford, a document placing the barons in virtual control of the realm. A council of fifteen men, comprised of both the king's supporters and detractors, effected a situation whereby Henry could nothing without the council's knowledge and consent. The magnates handled every level of government with great unity initially but gradually succumbed to petty bickering; the Provisions of Oxford remained in force for only years. Henry reasserted his authority and denied the Provisions, resulting in the outbreak of civil war in 1264. Edward, Henry's eldest son, led the king's forces with the opposition commanded by Simon de Montfort, Henry's brother-in-law.(20) Sicily
At the Battle
Lead by de Vac,
de Vac declared that only he could kill
Norman of Torn and
engaged him in personal combat.
revealed his identity and told them to look at the chest of the
happy ending at the end of The Outlaw of Torn wherein the
marries the woman he loves, and is acknowledged by the Queen and King
son, the true story of the Outlaw of Torn did not end altogether
Despite the private acknowledgement of Richard/Norman as their son,
acknowledging him publicly was not politically feasible for the
far as the world knew, the only child named Richard Plantagenet that
and Eleanor of Provence had ever recorded
was born in
1247 and died in 1256.
Edward Longshanks, Henry III's
son, had never truly believed that Norman of Torn was his lost brother.
he who had convinced his father that granting
of Torn, now John Caldwell, continued to have loyal friends. One of
the second Baron of Grebson, whose
John Caldwell married. Since Alicia was his only child, Grebson
allowed the marriage on the condition that
1280, Edward I made
However in "The Arms of Tarzan" Farmer made this speculation: "It is possible that John Caldwell was not killed, that he slew all of Edward's men, who actually numbered six, mangled the face of one tall corpse, and stained a violet lily mark on the corpse's left breast."
It seems that
closer to the mark in his first speculation.
Although Phra's initial healing period lasted four
hundred years, it
seems that as his body became accustomed to frequent periods of
time period for recovery was shortened. It could also be that the
Farmer also speculated that
1296 As Phra
slept, consequences from his life as the Outlaw of Torn continued to be
out against his family. Not content merely with killing Norman of Torn,
I also turned his attention towards
1346 Phra the Phoenician awakened in St. Olaf's Abbey. According
to his own account, Phra had been here
since 1084. A
cleric told him that he had been found on a shelf around 1188 by
Baldwin, the Archbisop of Canterbury, as a
wrapped mummy and had been
worshipped as a saint. The actual relic that
Phra had no
trouble understanding the monks as they spoke among
themselves. He walked in on a feast while they were inebriated and was
at the shock he caused. Near the monastery he found a small chapel with
marble statue representing his murdered wife and children. Devastated
discovery, he wandered the countryside, dependent on the charity of
provide him food and clothing. After wandering aimlessly—or
so it would appear—Phra managed to find a
jewels scattered in a brook. Once again Phra
rapid acculturation to his new surroundings and was able to fit into to
highly structured society of medieval
campaign one of Phra's feats of arms
caught the eye
of King Edward III. He called Phra to his
and asked him to lead a company of men whose captain had been killed.
Since Phra had recently arrived from
As the campaign continued, Phra realized that it was Isobel he was in love with not Alianora. With Flamaucoer's aid, he devised a love letter to Isobel, although Flamaucoer had doubts that this was the way to the woman's heart.
main battle of
1346 Phra's narrative here
conflates the end
of two waking periods that were separated in time. Tossed overboard,
drowned and unconscious Phra was swept
into a sea
1400-1453 Phra awoke with amnesia.
himself out of the darkened cavern, Phra
dove the few
feet to the ocean and swam to a nearby accessible shore. Phra
did not know who he was. He remembered being in a shipwreck, he
he was an archer, and he remembered that he needed to go to
William, he took service on the road to
as a witch and Henry was crowned King of France, William of Brighton
King's service and went on a pilgrimage to the
1500-1520 Waking up in a cave in
discharged, Phra traveled to
In his narrative, Phra conflated this incident with the much earlier shipwreck because when he awoke in 1586 his last memory was of being washed overboard. He recognized the landscape of Blodwen's village and assumed that he had made it to shore and been trapped in the crypt by a falling slab of marble.
1586 Phra the Phoenician is awakened and freed of his
confinement by two graverobbers. Despite
exhibiting the usual symptoms of a
long sleep, he seemed unaware that a great deal of time had passed. He
believed that he needed to deliver a message to Edward III's
Queen. He traveled northward to
After his audience with the Queen he sought out his traveling companion. Upon meeting up with Faulkner again, the older man asked him to be his guest at his home. Adam Faulkner had a young daughter whom Phra fell in love with, invoking the great jealousy of their Spanish servitor Emmanuel Marcena. Faulkner's estate had become downtrodden as he devoted all of his energies towards his great work, a mechanical marvel that turned out to be a monstrosity. It was a steam driven automation that nearly killed both Phra and Faulkner. Phra destroyed it and was attacked by the maddened inventor.
came to his senses and agreed to the courtship of Phra
and Elizabeth. Phra began to write his
their wedding feast, Phra and Elizabeth
1600-1630 Depending upon the type of poison he had been administered, Phra's healing hibernative state could have taken anywhere from a year to a decade. He awoke once again in a dissociative fugue with dissociative amnesia. So far as we know, although he would eventually regain his memories he never again reassumed the persona of Phra. Something unique occurred and his body does not appear to have gone into a hibernative state again until 1866. During this time a new persona was born, combining the personality traits of Phra with a psychological stability; however, the final form of the personality did not coalesce until 1766
During this time we can only speculate that Phra—under a single guise or a series of guises—became a British soldier and joined with the East India Company. The East India Company was also known as John Company, which was an Anglicized version of the nickname of the Dutch East India Company that had preceded the English version. It is perhaps appropriate that this emergent persona used a name that resonated with his new allegiance; he called himself John Carter. Carter is someone who carts, that is someone who carries or transports. So Phra chose the name Carter to indicate that this persona would carry him forward, that Phra would be a safe passenger inside Carter. These initials also hearkened back to John Caldwell.
John Carter was
an exploratory group that became lost in the
These fighting techniques would also help John Carter when he was transported to a world where he became the preeminent swordsman.
In addition to the martial arts, John Carter also learned mental disciplines that helped him to discipline his emotions and to experience trauma without being overwhelmed by it. These mental disciplines allowed the John Carter persona to become the dominant personality, incorporating the personality traits of Phra but shutting away the Phra identity's emotional baggage along with all of Phra's personal memories. Any memories of not being John Carter were also shunted away. Although the John Carter persona may have experienced some episodes of amnesia, these were not a general amnesia in which the personality was lost but rather a specific amnesia that targeted John Carter's odd immortality and eternal youth. Since the origins of the immortality and the various episodes in which he slept and awakened were all related to Phra, who wished to "die," these memories were walled off.
seem self-limited so that in his recorded adventures he does not
being alive for more than a hundred years despite evidence from the
to the contrary, although he does recollect however that he spent part
"his strange, wild life in all parts of the world." Upon leaving the Lamasary, John Carter decided to test his new
discipline in mind and body by climbing
1630-49 After leaving Tibet
decided to visit
The merchants were members of the Dutch East India Company returning from Changan with a load of silk, tea, and porcelain. As a reward for his efforts, the Captain in charge of this company offered John Carter food, clothing, and a set of arms. He also offered him a position and an advance on his salary. Carter was believed to be deserter from the English East India Company, which was of course not far from the truth. Carter discovered that by accepting employment he had in fact signed a five-year contract.
He spent the
years under contract with the Dutch East India Company fighting against
pirates, helping guard the colony of
In 1643 the Wappinger-Dutch War broke out because of an
perpetuated by Dutch Soldiers. The Dutch had signed a treaty with the
The Mohawk took advantage of their alliance with the Dutch to attack
hereditary enemies the
Tired of solitude, it appears that John Carter married and became a family man. Since he desired to keep his memories of his family, he, by necessity, mentally acknowledged his immortality. Yet because the root of the immortality and any investigative thought processes pertaining to it eventually led back to the repressed knowledge of Phra's existence, John Carter was oddly disinterested in how he had become immortal or even in his true origins. In A Princess of Mars, He states, "I am a very old man: how old I do not know. Possibly I am a hundred, possibly more but I cannot tell because I have not aged as other men, nor do I remember any childhood, so far as I can recollect I have always been a man, a man of about thirty."
1649 In "The Mysterious
the Carters," Todd Rutt and Arn
McConnell recounted the migration of a John Carter from
A distressed loyalist by the name of John Carter moved his family from their ancestral home in
, to the settlement of Buckinghamshire, England , in the Corotoman, Virginia New World. Carter was a man dedicated to his mother country and his king who became disgruntled when he saw the king's power being siphoned away by the rising democracy in . He moved to England , where he felt he could be sure of his community's loyalty to their liege. Carter and his family prospered there in the Colonies. Within fourteen years, he and his wife had successfully established a plantation in Corotoman.(27) America
Despite having been
his motives and the actual location of his origins, Rutt
and McConnell's research has pinpointed John Carter's migration to the
It was here in
1663 John Carter's wife Sarah, gave birth to their son, Robert.
1669 John Carter "dies"
1705 The grandfather’s great-grandfather of the author of the introduction to A Princess of Mars' was born in approximately this year. John Carter dandled this child on his knee.
1715 While traveling in
1725 Recorded birth of a John Carter, supposedly the son of Charles Carter.
1740 John Carter returns to the American Colonies
1754-1663 French-Indian War
1775-1781 American Revolution
1781 Not entirely satisfied
new government under the Articles of Confederation and once again
wanderlust, John Carter travels to
1781-1790 John Carter serves in
of Joseph II the Holy Roman Emperor. Joseph II was a man after John
own heart, autocratic and yet a reformer. He contemplated nothing less
abolition of hereditary and ecclesiastic privileges and the creation of
centralized and unified state administered by a civil service based on
and loyalty rather than birth. He planned a series of fiscal, penal,
social laws that would have established some measure of social equality
security for the masses. A strong exponent of absolutism, he used
means to push through his reforms over all opposition in order to
them during his lifetime. This was met opposition revolts in
As part of this
many German people were persuaded to come to
1790 Joseph II, the Holy
died and was succeeded by his brother Leopold II who immediately began
counteract the reforms that Joseph had put in place. John Carter left
The African sun baked his normally dark skin even darker. In early 1791, he was hired by a man named Daniel Houghton to be a guide. Although Carter had scant knowledge of the area, he had befriended some of the native tribesmen and so took on the task. A historical account of this incident is here.
The Africa Association, a group of wealthy dilettantes laid the groundwork for the expansion of the
British Empireinto Africaby hiring several independent explorers to carry out expeditions of exploration. In July 1790 a third candidate was interviewed. Daniel Houghton was a sturdy and cheerful Irishman, a retired army major. During his career he had been posted on , just off the coast of Goree Island , where he had learned the native Mandingo language and had become friends with native princes. Bankrupt and desperate for employment, he asked only for 800 pounds for expenses. When he sailed he left behind his wife and three children; the Association sent her the sum of 10 pounds. Banks explained that "As an Association, they were not justified in appropriating money subscribed for the purposes of discovery to the maintenance of individuals, who happened to be connected to those whom they employ." Senegal
Houghton was to move up the
Gambia River, approaching the Nilefrom the west. Almost immediately he ran into trouble, having to swim across the river to escape traders who were trying to kill him. Many of his supplies were burned in a mysterious fire and much of what was left was stolen as he moved inland. His only communication, a letter to Beaufoy that slowly made its way back to , suggested that he remained in good spirits and added that he had met a merchant who would guide him to London . Beaufoy thought that he had good chances of success, adding that "such is the darkness of his complexion that he scarcely differs in appearance from the Moors, whose dress in traveling he intended to assume". A scribbled note to a local trader some months later was the last word from him, but it did say he had reached the Timbuktu , halfway to his goal. Nothing further was known until five years later when another British explorer was shown the site of his robbery and murder at that village. Houghton did report that the flow of the villageof Simbing was to the east, his principal achievement.(29) Niger
This account is further substantiated by a story Carter told to Dejah Thoris and Tar Tarkas of an expedition he led into Darkest Africa. They ran across some cannibals and were captured in hidden nets. A shaman made a hoodoo doll using the clothing and hair of the man who had hired Carter as a guide. When the man refused to be cowed, the shaman pulled a bit of legerdemain and caused Carter's employer to burst into fire. Carter had noticed that the hoodoo doll actually sprayed a powder on his employer before the man had burst into flames. Carter kicked the doll up against the shaman who then burst into flames. Bursting his bonds, Carter ran to freedom.(30)
1792 In another three months he was tired of the bush and longed for civilization. Hearing of the Marquis de Lafayette's support of the French Revolution, he decided to see if he could do anything to promote goals of reform while preserving the social order. He of course had heard of the French Revolution and believed that it was a just revolution against a weak king and an effete aristocracy that exploited the lower classes instead of leading them.
The Marquis de Lafayette was a moderate liberal devoted to social reforms consistent with the maintenance of public order. He was appointed, on the declaration of war against
, Austria 20 April, 1792, to command the army of the center, 52,000 strong, between Philippeville and Lauterbourg. From his camp at Maubeuge, 16 June, he wrote the famous letter to the National Assembly, in which he denounced the dangerous policy of the Jacobins. The insurrection of 20 June followed. On the 28th came to Lafayette , and appeared before the assembly to defend his course. After two days, finding the Jacobins all-powerful in the city, he returned to camp, and formed a plan for removing the king from Paris . Before the plan was fully matured, and while his army was at Paris , only four days' march from the capital, there came the news of the revolution of 10 Aug. and the imprisonment of the king. Sedan now refused to obey the orders of the assembly, and arrested the three commissioners sent by that body to his camp. In return the assembly removed him from command and appointed Dumouriez in his place, 19 Aug.; his impeachment was also decided upon, and it became evident that his soldiers were in sympathy with the Jacobins. He fled into Lafayette with half a dozen companions, was taken prisoner by the Austrians, and handed over by them to the Prussians, by whom he was imprisoned first at Belgium , afterward at Wesel . He was offered his liberty on condition of assisting the allies in their invasion of Magdeburg , but refused.(31) France
Carter accompanied the Marquis de Lafayette to
Through a series of incidents and subterfuges too convoluted to recount here, John Carter as Jacques Cartier gained renown as a "loyal" soldier of the Republic. Yet at the same time he was working with the man known as Le Mouron Rouge, the Scarlet Pimpernel. He seems not to be a recorded member of the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel but one of their agents.
not able to save the King or Queen, his efforts, along with the Scarlet
Pimpernel's, allowed for the rescue of the
Dauphin which was
chronicled in Eldorado by the Baroness Orczy. As for
de Lafayette's family, Carter was able to secure release of George
Lafayette and ensure his passage to
release was finally granted through diplomatic influence from the
Consulate, James Monroe. Once freed, Madam Lafayette insisted on
The Marquis asked John Carter not to attempt to rescue them. The Marquis feared any harm coming to his wife or daughters.
The climate in
1799 Marriage of Jack Carter, a man of unknown antecedents, to Whitney Smith Trout. Jess Nevins in "The Carters of Virginia: A Tragedy" records this account of Jack Carter:
Carter was very popular
Jack Carter is reported to have looked thirty years old until the day he died. It is indeed a shame that so much of his life is unknown, as his activities and the source of his extended vitality are interesting historical curiosities.(32)
1800 Whitney Trout Carter gave birth to sons Nathan and Simon and according to some accounts a son named John. The birth was not an easy one and she died from its complications.
1821 Jack Carter's enduring
beginning to raise eyebrows, and with his sons grown he found himself
with a wanderlust. He left the estate in
hands despite the fact he was second born, although only by a day.
very little interest in the plantation and wished to go to the East for
education. Jack Carter intended to travel west but upon hearing of the
1821-1824 Greek War of Independence.Nevins writes:
There is at least one account by a Turkish survivor of the sack of Tripolitsa (October 5, 1821) that mentions a sword-wielding black-haired "foreigner" who tried to stop the independence-hungry Greeks from massacring the Turks of Tripolitsa. If this "foreigner" was indeed John Carter, his participation in the Greek War of Independence anticipates that of the Philhellenes by two to three years. However, given the number of massacres that took place during the War, and the barbarous fashion in which the Greeks treated those Turks who were unfortunate enough to fall into their care, we can only hope that John Carter was either elsewhere or considerably lessened the treatment of the captured Turks.
1824 After the death of
Lord Byron and
feeling disgust at the factionalism inside the Greek Independence
Jack Carter returned to the
1825. Rutt and McConnell record:
John Carter married Sarah Carter of Virginia, a distant relative also descended from John Carter-1 and named after his third wife. Sarah bore John one son, George Fairfax Carter. P Hopkinson Smith tells of George 50 years later in his book, Colonel Carter of Cartersville (1891). The book describes Col. Carter as a tall, graying man living at Carter Hall in
. Smith even goes so far as to tell us that Col. Carter's father was John Carter, who was believed dead in 1875. Nor can it be ignored that the Colonel's feelings toward his native state are practically identical to those expressed by Burroughs' Carter. "I am a Virginian, suh," is how the Colonel puts it. His card reads, "Colonel George Fairfax Carter of Carter Hall, Fairfax County, Virginia ." The book states that "he omits ' Cartersville, Virginia ' simply because it would add nothing to his identity or his dignity." How similar is this to John Carter's cry of " United States of America first!" Virginia
1836 John Carter took leave of his family and went to fight in the Texan revolution.
1839 After George Carter
first class of Virginia Military Institute, John and Sarah emigrated
1843 Sarah Carter dies
1846-1848 Mexican War
1849-1851 John Carter took part
in the Gold
Rush for a few months. He joined the military and did a two year stint.
became part of a military detachment sent to quell hostilities among
His fighting the Sioux was stated in A Princess of Mars. In the
an increasing flow of emigrants to
Carter's admiration for the Sioux led to his joining with a band of Lakota. Adopted into their tribe, he became a warrior of some note. When his small band was warred upon and butchered by another plains Indian tribe, (from descriptions it appears to have been the Pawnee), he rejoined the United States Army hoping to get vengeance against the killers of his adopted family.(34)
1855 John Carter returned to
1855-1858 Third Seminole War
1859 John Carter returned to
and caught up in the pre-secession patriotism, Carter and
1860 John Carter first met his "nephew" Matthew Nicholas Carter, who was five years old.
1864 Margaret Butler Carter
and her son
Nicholas were in
1865 John Carter searched
for his wife
and child but found no trace of them. He returned to Carter Hall,
check on the welfare of his son Nathan and his family and hoping that
and the child had somehow made their way to his
With Carter Hall burnt to the ground John Carter was destitute. Not knowing where his son Simon was located, John Carter looked up his brother-in-law Rhett Butler and tried to interest him in going west to prospect for gold. Rhett, however, was only interested in Scarlett O'Hara and demurred. However John Carter's fellow soldier and brother-in-law James K. Powell was enthusiastic to go.
1866 Carter and James K.
They were attacked by Apaches, and his friend was captured. John Carter rode into the Apache camp and rescued the body of his friend. Although the account by Burroughs does not mention Carter have been wounded, we can speculate that he received a bullet to a vital spot and went into shock. Extremely drowsy, he took shelter in a cavern and was overcome by a strange paralysis, which according to the narrative by Burroughs appears to have been caused by poisonous gas. He fought against this paralysis for several hours and then with a click like the snapping of a steel wire he stood over his dead body. His new form, however, was naked. Walking out of the cavern, he spotted the red planet of Mars and having a momentary desire of traveling there found himself flitting in that direction.
Examining this incident we can see an inconsistency with the theory that the paralysis that John Carter experienced was caused by poisonous gas. If this is so, why wasn't the secondary body that he somehow created also affected? We know that this body was susceptible to asphyxiation as shown in the end of A Princess of Mars when John Carter dies of that very thing at the Atmosphere Plant of Barsoom.
In keeping with
theory of his previous experience as Phra
body going into a hibernative coma
whenever he was
"fatally" wounded, John Carter was probably fatally injured by an
Apache bullet, went into shock, and did not feel the pain. The extreme
drowsiness he felt was his body's attempt to go into a healing coma.
Carter fought going into the trance; he fought it with every fiber of
being. Even as his body slipped into a paralysis, which was part of the
he fought it. One can certainly understand why. John Carter
realized that that if he allowed this trance to overcome his
there was a good chance that he—as John Carter—would never wake up again. Phra's
created personas never seemed to last more than one incarnation. If
had allowed himself to fall into the trance, he might indeed have
genuine death. One of the factors, besides John Carter's strong will,
aided him in his struggle against falling into the trance may have been
remnants of Phra's persona. Phra
had no desire to return to life and knew that if John Carter
disappeared it was
likely that he himself would once again be forced into consciousness.
Aided by Phra, John Carter fought back
with all of his might against
the veil of sleep; in doing so he used the mental disciplines taught to
many years ago in
Realizing that he could not stop the inevitable coma, John Carter did the next best thing; he created a duplicate body and channeled his consciousness into it. For many years it has been debated what body John Carter used on Barsoom. It was a mentally created doppelganger of his own body into which his consciousness was channeled and projected. He however remained connected to his own body as if by a psychic rubber band, to be snapped back into when this duplicate perished. This duplicate body was flesh and blood, identical to his own body, but it was also a form of thought projection that he had learned from the Tibetans. The duplicate body was a tulpa. Although the Tibetan monks most likely learned to create tulpas on their own through sheer mental discipline, members of this sect may have had some contact with the ancient Barsoomians since the Lotharians of Mars also had the ability to create tulpas.(37)
John Carter in his tulpa form lived for ten years on Barsoom and died saving the red planet by telepathically opening the locked door of the atmosphere factory. When the Tulpa perished, Carter found himself in back in his original body that had recovered enough from its wound for him to regain consciousness.
1876 John Carter found
transported back to the same cavern in the
John found Rhett's mutilated body near the cavern. He buried Rhett Butler in the same cavern as James K. Powell.
Carter and Powell discovered a rich vein of gold worth a million. After
1877 John Carter returned
1878 John Carter purchased
1885 Matthew Nicholas
John Carter at his estate on the
1886 John Carter saw the
red orb of
Mars beckoning in the sky and had a sudden insight as to how he might
to return to Barsoom. Using the
disciplines again, he stopped his heart and kept it stopped. He may in
have caused great damage to it so that he sustained a fatal internal
felt the paralysis grip him and the onset of death; this was of course
healing coma to which his body was subject at such times. As before, he
against this coma and was able to create another tulpa
into which he channeled his consciousness. The cause of his death was
to be heart failure by the doctor who examined the still warm corpse.
Nicholas Carter took John Carter's body to
As per his instructions, his body was placed in a casket that could be opened from the inside.
1887/8 John Carter returned to Barsoom and Dejah Thoris
1898 Carter returned to
1920 As revealed in the introduction to The Chessmen of Mars, John Carter would learn to enhance his psionic abilities through his association with Kar Komak, the ancient Lotharian. Among these skills would be the ability to create tulpa's at will. He used these temporary mental constructs to keep in contact with his "nephew" Matthew Nicholas Carter.
1925 John Carter visited Matthew Nicholas Carter and gave him Paxton's manuscript for The Mastermind of Mars.
1930 Matthew Nicholas Carter was contacted by Ulysses Paxton via Gridley Wave.
1933 Carter visited Matthew
1940 About this time, the events of Synthetic Men of Mars were transmitted to Matthew Nicholas Carter via Gridley Wave
1947 About this time, John
visited Matthew Nicholas Carter in
1949 About this time, John Carter and Dejah Thoris were taken to Sassoom (Jupiter).(40)
As to how John Carter remembered being Phra the Phoenician, we cannot disclose at this time.
story will be told.
2. Although Merlin was thought to be able to use actual magic, this may in fact have been a combination of sleight of hand or innate psionic power. It could also be that he merely knew of the magicians "tricks" and was able to expose the trickery used by the King's magicians.
4. Citation from Britannia Arthurian Biographies: Vortigern
6. This seems to be one of the two main responses of Phra to tragedy and grief; to work through the trauma by using it as a spur to action or to avoid working through it by withdrawing into a depressed state in which the personality literally withdraws from the world.
was Emperor of the
8. Taken from the Gallic Chronicle of 511 "Antimolus a patre Anthemio imperatore cum Thorisario, Everdingo et Hermiano com. stabuli Arelate directus est, quibus rex Euricus trans Rhodanum occurrit occisisque ducibus omnia vastavit" (Chron.gall.511 no.649 s.a.471).
9. This spell may have been simply chemical in nature. After thrusting the sword into the anvil, Merlin sealed it in with a cement of his devising. Arthur's (Phra's) blood acted as a catalyst that dissolved the cement and allowed him to withdraw the sword.
10. We can assume by this that the tattoo Phra received circa 56 B.C., which was still vivid in 410 AD, had faded to a great extent but was still visible in some regard. Although as Uther Arthur had known that Igraine had a daughter, he did not know that Morguase was her. He had known her only as a child, and she had originally been called Anna. The accidental incident of incest, or believed incest—since in reality they were not related to each other—was a good excuse to keep Morguase from his court lest she eventually recognize him as Uther. This incident of supposed incest, however, preyed upon her mind and turned her affection for Arthur into hatred. The son who was born from this union was poisoned from birth to hate Arthur.
13. Like most of the women Phra with whom fell deeply in love, Matilida too may have been Blodwen reincarnated. This theme is extensively examined in Undying Love: The Eternal Romance of Phra and Blodwen by Dennis Power and Dr. Peter Coogan
14. This time in
dry sandy, wastelands of the
Carter states "I do have vague memories of great wars on the China Hills and on the cold Russian wastelands. There were magnificent battles over the Egyptian desert and endless struggles in Rome and Greece but those wars and the years as well have become blurs for they were fought so long ago" (16).
As will be seen, the timeline of this article places most of these references. The mentions to
16. For a discussion of the pagan associations often placed upon Robin Hood please visit The Legend of Robin Hood site
17. Here may be another aspect of the personality of Phra spilling over into the created personas of Arthur and Robin. Both Arthur and Robin were legendary worshippers of the Virgin Mary, although Robin never referred to her by name, only by the term "the Lady." In his narrative Phra records two conversations with the spirit of his dead wife Blodwen. While I will not dispute the possibility that these might be actual spiritual manifestations, I will however state that they could also be signs of a deeper psychological problems than Phra exhibits in his narrative. Such hallucinations can also occur with a disassociative disorder. The great worshipping of the Virgin Mother could also be in part a remembrance of his lost love, who he wished were as immortal as he.
Robin Hood, edited by Stephen Knight and Thomas H. Ohlgren.
Originally Published in Robin Hood and Other
19. Echoes of his previous persona of Robin Hood may still have been influencing this new persona. As Norman of Torn stated "Only do I collect from those who have more than they need, from my natural enemies, while they prey upon those who have naught."
20. "Henry III" Britannia British Monarchs: Edward III
23. The choice of these names is significant and may have come from his subconscious. Both are Latin derived. Martin derives from Martinus the god of war. Since Phra often saw himself as an eternal warrior this is appropriate. The name Anthony is also Latin derived, although it may originally be of Etruscan derivation. It means Flower, as does Blodwen
when Phra met with
briefly, to his time in
probably the old and powerful emperor John Carter mentions as having
served in A
Princess of Mars, "However, I am not prone to sensitiveness, and
following of a sense of duty, wherever it may lead, has always been a
kind of fetich [sic] with me throughout my
life; which may account
for the honors bestowed upon me by three republics and the decorations
friendships of an old and powerful emperor and several lesser kings, in
service my sword has been red many a time." The three republics comment
a bit more problematic, as it may refer to any of the following,
the accuracy of Carter's memory at the time of writing: The United
N. Moersch's "
32. Despite his impressive research in this article and elsewhere, Nevins seems to have been given misleading information. For a possible explanation, see Peter Coogan's "Burroughing Beneath the Page" (forthcoming).
John Carter's military career is problematic at best. His records
disappear. This was quite probably deliberate on his part. Remember at
time all records were kept in writing and had to be physically
Records were lost as a matter of course. Carter thus avoided exact
his service record and his age. He maintained a rank of a lower
deliberately never rising above captain. We can only imagine John
bluffing his way through each "assignment" when he would show up and
no records could be found to verify his assignment. We only know of his
presence in the Mexican War and the early Sioux conflict and even the
War through diaries and correspondence of various Carter members,
Matthew Nicholas Carter. John Carter's presence in the
35. Matthew Nicholas Carter is the "nephew" of John Carter who writes the various prefaces of the Barsoom series and the other series. For a biography of his life and an explanation of his relationship with Edgar Rice Burroughs, see Peter Coogan's "Burroughing Beneath the Page." (forthcoming).
36. Both of
being twins, Simon and Nathan inherited a longevity that made them age
more slowly than the norm. Although Nathan and Simon were over 65 years
they still looked to be in their thirties, so John Carter's claim to be
Nathan's brother would not have been as remarked upon had Nathan looked
actual age. Although Carter had many children over the ages, only a
inherited any form of longevity; yet in the
37. In the novel Masters of Death by Maxwell Grant, the Shadow also appears to create a tulpa form. He learned this psychic ability from Tibetan lamas.
38. See the
article Gullivar of Mars is
Ulysses Paxton by
Dennis E. Power and Dr. Peter Coogan. (forthcoming). It is possible that
39. See the The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 2, No. 1, and the short story, Mars: The Home Front by George Alec Effinger in the anthology War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches, Bantam, 1996
40. For more details on John Carter's Barsoomian exploits, please read Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoomian series: A Princess of Mars, The Gods of Mars, Warlord of Mars, Thuvia, Maid of Mars, Chessmen of Mars, Mastermind of Mars, A Fighting Man of Mars, Swords of Mars, Synthetic Men of Mars, Llana of Gathol, and John Carter of Mars. For more of John Carter's Barsoomian exploits not contained in the Burroughs records, please visit The Worlds of ERB Timeline by Win Scott Eckert.
Arnold, Edwin The Wondrous Adventures of Phra the Phoenician, A.L Burt.
At Health Inc. "Disassociative disorders." AtHealth.com Website. Jul. 2002. <http://www.athealth.com/Consumer/disorders/Dissociative.html>.
Coogan, Peter. "John
Phra the Phoenician!" The Wold
Eckert, Win Scott. The
Worlds of ERB Timeline.
Farmer, Philip Jose. "The
Tarzan." Burroughs Bulletin. 22 (1971). The Wold
---. Tarzan Alive: A Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1972.
Ford, David Nash. "Riothamus, Prince of Domnonée." Early British Kingdoms. 2001. http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/bios/riothdo.html
Monmouth. History of the Kings of
Hughes, David. "The Age of Arthur." David Hughes Website. <http://hometown.aol.com/rdavidh218/kingarthur.html>.
NicEilidh, Hester. "The Legend of Robin Hood." Hester's House. 2002. <http://hesternic.tripod.com/robinhood.htm>
Nevins, Jess The Carters of Virginia: A Tragedy, Jess Nevin's Wold Newton home page 1999 <http://ratmmjess.tripod.com/wold2.html>
Roy, John Flint. A Guide to Barsoom: The Mars of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
© 2002 Dennis Power
© 2002 Peter Coogan