Full Version: Boudicca Revolt - Divine omens....?
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Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Seismologist says earthquake triggered the Boudiccan revolt ... gered.html

"It was an awesome David and Goliath battle waged two thousand years ago that shook the Roman Empire.

And now, the riddle of Queen Boudicca's victory over her mighty foe on East Anglian soil has taken a new tumble and twist that could rewrite the history books.

A study by a leading archaeologist has revealed that a previously unknown earthquake shook the southeast of England at the time the Iceni tribe led their rebellion - bringing a sign of divine approval for Boudicca and a bad omen for her opponents.

Up until now, a series of bizarre events that allegedly took place at the time have been played down as exaggeration and allegory rather than taken at face value.

But British classicist Raphael Isserlin has re-examined the ancient texts and concluded that they are not simply classical literary devices, but descriptions of a serious earthquake that hit the heart of the religious and political capital of Roman Britain - Colchester.

BBC History magazine, which has published Mr Isserlin's findings, explains that the texts recall how the “statue of the goddess Victory in Colchester partly rotated and toppled over, how strange sounds were heard and how the sea turned blood redâ€
Interesting hypothesis - and demonstrates yet again that one should never dismiss what the ancient sources say lightly..........
We may not fully understand the sources, their bias, "spin" or whatever, but there is no doubt that all our sources contain a "truth" of sorts.....
We just have to figure it out.....
Thjat is what I have believed for some time Paul, just not as eloquent as yourself in expressing things. I get a little skeptical when I hear the ancient sources poo=pooed over modern interpretation. They obviously wrote what the did for a reason true to them selves..... our perceptions have shifted with our knowledge base, so to speak.... ramble ramble...
Thanks- but I'd have to hand over any writing compliments to the journalist who wrote the article........ :wink:
Thats very intresting, I wonder how it's only really came to light recently.
I would guess from the text and what we are told that the classicist ( Isserlin) was reading the text and had a "divine" inspiration......"Gee, that sounds as if it could have been an earthquake !"
He then went to the Geologist (Musson) who, on being told of the 'symptoms' said "..that theory is consistent with known phenomena of earthquakes, and the geology of the area...." et voila !
Just think of the many (e.g. me!! ) who didn't make the connection on reading the text, in some cases, many times......guess, like Isserlin, you have to have the two parts of knowledge ( classics and geology/earthquakes ) to make the connection......which, once expounded, seems obviuos !! Of course, plausible does not equal established fact, until some actual evidence of earthquake is found for that time and place.....
Interesting, indeed! Yes, another example of arrogantly dismissing the ancient sources. But I'm a little curious as to how this is going to "rewrite the history books"? The books used to say that there were stories of these omens before the revolt. Now they can say there are stories of these omens before the revolt. Uh, yeah....

I think the change to the history books comes in the qualifying statement that follows Mattew. The books might have said something like: "There were stories of these omens before the revolt, but we know that is a load of hooey invented by the ancient authors to make the story sound good."

They'll have to change it to: "There were stories of these omens before the revolt, which we believe are the ancient authors describing the effects of a seismic event which happened in the area."

As I recall from one of my geophysics classes, there is a system for estimating the strength of an earthquake based on written records. It takes into account things like the amount of damage done to structures, the types of structure damaged (it takes more energy to knock down a house than to topple a brick chimney and it takes more energy to topple a brick chimney than it does to topple a wall of stones fitted with no mortar), any noises involved, and whether things were flung into the air or merely shook up a bit. Ground motion in an earthquake has a vertical component as well as a horizontal component and in a really big quake things get thrown into the air - just one of the many reasons why big quakes are unhappy events!

If the only damage mentioned was a statue getting vibrated off its base then I am going say that it was not a very energetic event as far as earthquakes go so we aren't likely to get any better proof than what was written down.

I am guessing earthquakes in England are much like earthquakes on the East Coast of the US - typically the quakes are not associated with any surface faults which makes them difficult to study.