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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
#1
Having just listened to In Our Time on Boudica (see the thread here), it occurred to me that there may be some mileage in debating the old chestnut, Where Was Boudica's Last Stand? The programme duly unfurled the usual 'somewhere in the West Midlands' line (Mancetter being a favourite), but I would be interested to know what the resident RAT Armchair Generals think about this, given that Tacitus is so sparing with geographical information.

Tacitus has Paullinus and his army march down from North Wales to Londinium (it seems to be presumed down Watling Street), passing 'medios inter hostes'. He then gives up Londinium and retreats to fight her elsewhere. The traditional view is that he withdraws back up Watling Street whence he had come to make a stand somewhere near Mancetter. My question is this: why go back north-west? Why not head south-east, to put the Channel and the coastal ports at his back; or south-west to Noviomagus, also with a port (and, historically, a friendly ruler); or west towards Calleva, with II Augusta at his back (he wasn't to know they were going to sulk)? All of these could be interpreted as next in the line of the advancing Britons (Camulodunum -> Verulamium -> Londinium) whereas heading north-west meant going back through hostile territory (perhaps knowing by then that IX Hispana under the much-maligned Cerealis had been trounced) in order to turn and face them as they too head northwestwards. Since Tacitus is so vague about the geography (the only clues come from Mona and the three destroyed cities), I bet you could find a suitable defile on any of the roads out of Londinium that matched the description as well as Mancetter.

The only hint I can find that favours the north-west option is the mention of Paullinus collecting XIV Gemina and part of XX Valeria after the description of his abandoning Londinium (his path being Mona -> 'hostile area' -> Londinium -> battle site). Was Paullinus at the head of a 'flying column' prepared to penetrate hostile areas twice to get him back to the main army (Tacitus implies he at least considered making a stand at Londinium which would mean he already had the whole army with him)? Is the order of events in Tacitus being taken too literally? If you were Paullinus, what would you do? Points will be deducted of you refer to what George Shipway says in Imperial Governor.

Discuss ;-) )

Mike Bishop
You know my method. It is founded upon the observance of trifles

Blogging, tweeting, and mapping Hadrian\'s Wall... because it\'s there
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Messages In This Thread
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand. - by mcbishop - 03-11-2010, 11:16 AM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! - by Ensifer - 03-11-2010, 03:13 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 02-18-2012, 06:26 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 02-19-2012, 12:02 AM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 02-19-2012, 02:50 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 02-19-2012, 05:40 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 02-19-2012, 11:26 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-24-2012, 05:11 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-24-2012, 09:42 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-24-2012, 10:10 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-25-2012, 03:11 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-25-2012, 03:25 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-25-2012, 08:36 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-26-2012, 02:57 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-27-2012, 01:50 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 08-05-2012, 02:24 PM
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by antiochus - 11-07-2014, 02:18 PM
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by antiochus - 11-08-2014, 01:50 AM
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by antiochus - 11-11-2014, 02:03 AM
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by antiochus - 11-18-2014, 07:54 AM
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by antiochus - 11-20-2014, 02:37 AM
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by antiochus - 11-25-2014, 08:29 AM

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