Southey’s Madoc

Aztec Temple Sacrifice

Another great poetry must read includes Southey‘s Madoc.

It is twelfth century Wales: and Prince Madoc is tired of the unending rounds of internecine feuding attempting to decide the royal succession. Therefore, Madoc gathers together a ship full of like-minded volunteers to cross the Atlantic and seek a new start in America. After months of sailing, they eventually select a beautiful site on which to found a small expatriate community: in a place named in the local tongue ‘Aztlan’.

But Aztlan is not paradise – as Prince Madoc and his followers soon discover to their cost. Although Madoc succeeds in befriending a local Hoamen tribe: even their combined numbers remain far inferior to the dominant Aztec tribes in the region – that exercise iron rule over that part of the country.

Revolted by the Azteca’s brutal human sacrifices, Madoc openly opposes all rule by Aztec priests: defying the militant Aztecs and prepares to defend his colony to the death.

  • How can Madoc’s small numbers – however well-armed and valiant – resist the overwhelming superiority of forces arrayed against them?
  • Will the Hoamen remain faithful to their Welsh allies? Or is it easier to betray Madoc and return to Aztec overlordship?
  • The Aztec are too numerous for Madoc to either kill or convert them all. What final resolution can there possibly be between this clash of civilizations: diametrically opposed on every level?

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