Cornavii Ethnicity in Caledonia | World Anvil
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Cornavii (Cor-na-vi)

The Cornavii occupy the North-eastern tip of the of Albion where the The Boundless Sea crashes upon towering cliffs that make up the many headlands that jut out into the ocean. The Cornavii are a large confederation of smaller tribes that share the tradition of dwelling in Broch these mighty towers can be found all over Cornavi territory, dominating the landscape from the rocky promontories of the shore, along the many watercourses and rivers into the hinterland and bordering upon the The Wet Desert Their lands are separated from other broch dwelling tribes such as the Lugi to the south and the Caereni by large expanses of bog, heath and rugged hills.  


  The Lands of the Cornavii are made up of rolling plains of fertile soils and good pasture, the black soils here are renowned for growing grains or barley and spelt. This abundance of fertile land has allowed the clans to grow numerous and prosperous, supporting many broch households so that the landscape is littered with great drystone towers everywhere the eye can see. The fertile plains are divided by four major rivers that run deep into the hinterland whereby the great The Wet Desert empties its dark waters towards the sea. These empty heaths stretch out for miles, the peaty soils are used for burning as fuel instead of brushwood, although these lands are good for the growing of crops and hunting game there is a lack of timber to be found in this treeless landscape. these heaths are renowned as excellent hunting grounds and support a thriving supply of game and pelts, some tribes make a tidy sum from the export of wild game skins to the Orcadians or the occasional Venicones merchant vessel that visits these parts to trade in the lucrative timber market. The coasts are made up of dramatic towering cliffs that stand tall above the boiling seas. in the north these cliffs form a number of headlands that jut out into the sea. The name Cornavii is a topographic description taken from these tall cliffs the names meaning "people of the headlands" in the native tongue.  


  Although the Cornavii are a strong tribal confederation they have increasingly fallen under the dominion of the Orcadians, having married their sons and daughters into the families of powerful Orcadian chiefs and arch druids, such arrangements often bring prestige but they also come with strings attached, the Oracdians may ask for a tribute of grain or some other supplies or for a band of young men keen to make a name for themselves raiding or putting down some community that refuse to pay their tithe to the powerful ruling elite based in Orkney. There was a time when the various clans of the lands of the Cornavi were in a constant state of war, those that dwell on the coast were at odds with the clans of the hinterland. the druids beseeched them to put an end to bloodfued and constant raiding, offering to arbitrate an agreement between both groups on mutual terms. In this way peace was brought to the lands of the Cornavi but it came at the cost of becoming increasingly subordinate to the power of the Orcadians. The Cornavi share friendly relations with the Caereni who dwell along the great rivers of the northwest west coasts. The Caereni are in fact a branch of the Cornavii folk who were sent away to settle the rivers of the west, in times of yore Cornavii lands had fallen upon famine and overcrowding so the tribes of the hinterland sent their sons and daughters away to find new pastures on the west. Good relations have always been maintained, markets shared and assistance given whenever required. To the south beyond the The Wet Desert and the rolling hills The Lugi dwell along the banks of a great river, there is no animosity felt toward the lugi, although they are next neighbours the obstacle of crossing the wet desert to reach them makes relations difficult to maintain. there is at times a trade in timber that is carried by sea rather than land.  


For the most part the Cornavi share the same customs and traditions that are held in common by all neighbouring clans. They live communally as extended families in the Broch raising crops and herds of cattle. They elect their rulers from kith and kin through the tradition of tanistry where leaders are selected by vote from a pool of potential suitors of distinguished pedigree. They recognise the same festivals as all the tribes of Caledon but they differ in that when the Aonach is held, due to their great number and large territory the festivities take longer and are typically larger than seen elsewhere in Caledon. Here old clan rivalries are reignited in the name of sport and games but never continued beyond the end of the Aonach for fear of drawing the wrath of the druids and falling back to the days of bloodfeud and raiding. The Cornavi do not partake in the consumption of fish, it is thought they are among the first to observe this custom, although fish are to be found in inexhaustible quantities inland and at sea. Those who do consume fish are eschewed by the community.  


The Cornavi are late in receiving the news that Rome is planning to invade Caledonia in the coming year. the Orcadians had been on friendly terms with the Romans since paying tribute to Claudius in 43AD, causing them to choose to side with the Romans in the coming conflict, thinking themselves to be on the winning side and hoping to be richly rewarded for their service. The Orcadians had encouraged the Cornavii to send their sons to Rome to be trained under roman tutelage, as is customary for all tribes who had willingly become a protectorate of Rome, having closer ties to with the Orcadians the cornavii tribes who dwell upon the coasts willingly sent their sons away as soon as they received the demand, the tribes of the hinterlands were far more reluctant to oblige. When the clans of the hinterland were finally willing to send their sons away to the coasts to be taken by ship to Roman lands in the south, druid messengers arrived from the far south to relate the news that all of Caledonia was to be made subject to Rome and that the druid centre at Mona had been completely destroyed after a fearsome last stand. All those who fought for freedom were crucified, those who escaped the carnage held council and resolved to make their way North to warn the tribes of their fate should they fall victim to the march of Rome. These messengers arrived too late to the tribes of the hinterland to stop them sending away their sons, and when they heard what was to befall their countrymen in the coming year they were resolved to send out a party to stop their sons being sent away, they also sent out emissaries to question the Orcadians to what side they would take in the coming war, surely they would not be expected to fight against their own countrymen in the ranks of the foreign invaders? The druid messengers were to arrange for a Cornavii vessel to take them to the druid centre in Orkney to hold an audience with the high council in a vain effort to plead for them to unite the Caledonian tribes in common cause against the invaders. The Cornavii were put in an impossible position and were sorely vexed as to what they might do, in one hand if they joined forces with the Caledonians they would be at odds with their Orcadian allies, on the other hand if they remained in league with the Orcadians they might find themselves fighting against their own countrymen at the behest of a Roman general. The tribes of the hinterland resolved to take the side of the Caledoninas but those of the coasts concluded that they should honour their oaths to the Orcadians, with this the rift which once divided the Cornavi lands was once again renewed. The Crosskirk clan had sent their son Talorc to the south with a band of picked companions to find out which clans planned to resist the invasion. It is at this juncture that we find the beginning of the tale of the this band journey and the story of the pivotal role the Cornavii played in resisting the Roman invasion.

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Jan 3, 2023 16:34

Nice article! The paragraphs were rather large, but I liked the details about their territory and about their relations with other groups.

If you're seeing this, I may have used your article for my 2023 Reading Challenge.