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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
(11-27-2015, 10:20 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote:
(11-27-2015, 10:10 PM)Renatus Wrote: St Albans doesn't exist either!

Are you sure you're doing it right? 'Search' tab in the right panel - 'Part of modern or ancient name' type St Albans, press 'Modern Name' and you'll get a choice of Prae Wood or St Albans / Verulamium...

Doing it that way, it works.  I was being too helpful.  I put in Place Type 'town' and Modern Country 'Great Britain'.  Doing that brings up nothing.  I also thought that, if I entered 'St Albans' and clicked 'Ancient Name', it would give it to me; it doesn't.  You obviously have to have a different sort of mind to mine to understand these things!
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
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not the final battle but possibly where the troops of the final battle had just been building;
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north...s-34942733
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(11-28-2015, 09:44 AM)John1 Wrote: not the final battle but possibly where the troops of the final battle had just been building;
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north...s-34942733

How can they say it's 1st century or even early without putting a spade in the ground and, apparently, without surface finds?
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
Reply
(11-27-2015, 10:16 PM)Theoderic Wrote: The term “flew to arms” troubles me. What is the real meaning. Is it that they picked up their weapons immediately and went on the attack or was it a more measured approach?

I take the view that as Prasutugus died in AD59 and the revolt did not happen until the summer of AD60, it took a few months at least to arm themselves and to form alliances with the Trinovantes and others, so not just the Trinovantes and the Iceni were involved in the original uprising.

The Latin has 'rapiunt arma '.  Rapio has various meanings but the ones relevant to this passage would seem to be 'seize' or 'snatch up'.  Generally, it has implications of speed and violence.  'Flew to arms' (Loeb translation) comes close but has for me the added connotation of thoughtless rapidity, which may be not be in the Latin.  There is probably an element of rhetoric in this but I think that we may take the whole passage to imply that the Iceni were so outraged that they immediately resolved upon military action, pausing only to gather arms and to enlist the aid of the Trinovantes and, possibly, other like-minded tribes.

The date of Prasutagus' death is not really relevant; it is the flogging of Boudica and the raping of her daughters that sparked the revolt.  When that occurred we do not know precisely but the implication is that it was after Paulinus had  embarked upon his campaign against Anglesey.  The onset of the revolt need not have been very long afterwards.  The Trinovantes were already disaffected and probably needed little encouragement to join in.  The other tribes, even those that were not the natural allies of the Iceni, were probably so appalled at the occurrence and fearful of what might happen to them in the future that they were prepared to set aside tribal rivalries and join in as well.  After all, if the family of a client king, presumably perceived to be pro-Roman, could be treated in such a manner, who was safe?  Boudica may well have begun her revolt with only the Trinovantes onside, relying on this reaction and the snowball effect to bring the others in.    

(11-27-2015, 10:16 PM)Theoderic Wrote: My other concern about the whole tribe being on the road for any length of time, let alone a year, is that they would have destroyed the lands they were travelling through.

Often wars were averted and peoples would surrender just on the threat of invasion because of the devastation caused to food stocks just by an army marching through its territories.

If they were travelling through the territories of tribes sympathetic to the Romans, I doubt whether this caused the rebels any concern at all.  In the latter case, they are likely to have demanded supplies as a token of loyalty.

(11-27-2015, 10:16 PM)Theoderic Wrote: For the reasons that I have outlined above I do not think that the Iceni left their homeland in a mass migration. They were fighting in the first place to keep their way of life and their lands from being subsumed into the Roman Province, so why would they desert it?

I am not, of course, suggesting that they abandoned their homelands for all time.  However, Tacitus tells us that, in effect, in their outrage warfare took precedence over husbandry and, frankly, we cannot just reject him because we would have preferred that he had said something else.  If their object was to drive the Romans from the province, this was no mean undertaking.  The Romans were not going to turn tail and flee because of the loss of one town or even the destruction of half a legion.  This was going to require the participation of every able-bodied man and was likely to take some time.  What, then, were the alternatives for the Iceni?  To leave their families behind to starve because they had not planted crops?  To leave them to fall victim to Roman retaliation, if (contrary to what I have said) that did occur?  To leave them at the mercy of their traditional enemies, who might take advantage of the absence of the fighting men to raid their territory, or to fall into the hands of marauding bands of brigands, who owed allegiance to no-one?  The answer, I suggest, was to take them with them, to support them and to give whatever assistance they could during the campaign, until they were all able to return to their homes victorious.
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
Reply
(11-28-2015, 05:41 PM)Renatus Wrote: There is probably an element of rhetoric in this

I think so, and a 'barbarian' trope too. 'Flying to arms' is what barbarians do, being very impulsive and reckless people...

Tacitus's account is highly dramatic, and, I believe, compresses events to add further drama. An uprising of this scale would have taken a considerable period of time to arrange and set in motion.

In fact, as I've suggested before, perhaps Tacitus's dramatic compression of events creates the misapprehension that Paulinus only learned of the revolt after the sack of Colchester, and therefore would not have had time to march his army down to London.

And from that comes the idea of the 'cavalry dash' and the notion that the battle must have been somewhere in the Midlands...



(11-28-2015, 05:41 PM)Renatus Wrote: until they were all able to return to their homes victorious.

Agreed - although I still think they would have needed to head home in the autumn to plant winter crops, whether Paulinus was defeated or not. The Iceni and others would not have wanted entirely to abandon their ancestral homelands and miss an entire year's planting.


(11-27-2015, 10:16 PM)Theoderic Wrote: Prasutugus died in AD59 and the revolt did not happen until the summer of AD60

Tacitus is very clear that the revolt happened in AD61!
Nathan Ross
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Renatus wrote:

The date of Prasutagus' death is not really relevant; it is the flogging of Boudica and the raping of her daughters that sparked the revolt.  When that occurred we do not know precisely but the implication is that it was after Paulinus had  embarked upon his campaign against Anglesey. 

In an earlier statement I mis-typed the date of the uprising as AD60 (my apologies) when I should have typed that it was (in my opinion) AD 61 however your point that it was Boudica's flogging and the confiscation of all Iceni owned lands that caused the uprising still stands.

The Procurator may well have acted when the "Cat" (Paulinus) was away as it would appear that he was reporting directly to Caesar and not the Governor.

In theory if that was the case perhaps he would have done this somewhere between the start of the Campaign Season (March / April) and when Paulinus was on the way to Anglesey.

In your scenario if Catus had outraged Boudicca in April the Iceni would have had to have armed themselves fully, mobilised their whole tribe with all the associated logistical problems, formed alliances with other tribes, captured a number of forts and marched onto Colchester in about six weeks.

It might have been possible if it is accepted that the Iceni and the Trinovantes and others were a Brythonic Army of young warriors of various skills, charioteers, cavalry, and infantry but as a tribe to do this it seems to me improbable.

Renatus wrote:

The answer, I suggest, was to take them with them, to support them and to give whatever assistance they could during the campaign, until they were all able to return to their homes victorious.

The Brythons had been fighting the Roman army almost constantly for around 17 years and their method of fighting does not appear to be around a mass migration. 

It was military might against military might. Ambushes and battles and although it was possible that some royal households were attached to the army (Caratacus family were all captured at his last battle although he escaped) generally this seems to be the exception. 

It seems to me that the whole idea of the "horde" or familial gathering seems to be rooted in the following: 

They were in unprecedented numbers, and confidence ran so high that they brought even their wives to witness the victory and installed them in waggons, which they stationed just over the extreme fringe of the plain. (Tacitus, Annals, 14.34) 

I am of the opinion that this was the baggage train which may have contained women, cattle are also mentioned but no children therefore no families, a normal travelling army. 

Deryk
Deryk
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(11-28-2015, 09:27 PM)Theoderic Wrote: if Catus had outraged Boudicca in April the Iceni would have had to have armed themselves... and marched onto Colchester in about six weeks.

While the attack on Boudica was probably what sparked the uprising, I don't think we need to assume that the result was immediate. It could have taken a long time for news of the event to spread, and for the various tribal groups and sub-groups to agree on a united response. Even assembling such a large body of people in one place to move against Colchester would have taken a while.

Six weeks may have been plausible even so. All we know is that the rebellion was apparently on a roll before the planting of the spring crops, which I believe usually happens today around the third week in April.
Nathan Ross
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There are probably a number of things that we can agree upon:

1.  It is inconceivable that Paulinus would have embarked upon a campaign taking him and the greater part of his army to the westernmost tip of the island, if he had been aware of a major rebellion brewing in the east.

2.  The inhabitants of Colchester became aware of their danger at a late stage, just in time to notify the procurator in London and for him to dispatch a hastily-gathered force of 200 ill-armed men to the colony, and to inform Cerialis and for him to set off with whatever part of his legion that was immediately available to march.

3.  News of the rebellion did not reach Paulinus until his operation in Anglesey was in its final stages and, indeed, he may actually have been on his way back to London, in the company of the Fourteenth Legion, which may have been intended to stop at its base at Wroxeter, leaving him to continue to London with his bodyguard.

This raises a number of possible scenarios regarding the causes and outbreak of the rebellion:

1.  The rebels planned the rebellion well in advance but kept their intentions so secret that the news only leaked out at the last minute.

2.  Officials were aware of unrest but did not take it seriously and did not think it worth telling the governor.

3.  Paulinus knew of unrest amongst the Iceni but thought that it was confined to that tribe and that Cerialis and the Ninth Legion could deal with any trouble that might arise.

4.  The outrage against the Iceni occurred after Paulinus had set off on campaign and the rebels organised the revolt very quickly, with only the Iceni and the Trinovantes involved at the outset.  Even so, this did take a little time and open revolt did not break out until the campaigning season was well advanced.

I tend to favour the last of these options.  What do others think or are there alternative possibilities?
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
Reply
(11-29-2015, 12:40 PM)Renatus Wrote: It is inconceivable that Paulinus would have embarked upon a campaign taking him and the greater part of his army to the westernmost tip of the island, if he had been aware of a major rebellion brewing in the east.

Yes - we know he was not a reckless man. However, it's possible that Paulinus and his army were already based in the west, perhaps at Wroxeter, and had been since the previous year's campaigning. But he had begun his campaign before the rebllion gathered strength: Tacitus, Agricola - "No sooner had the governor departed on his expedition than the Britons of the province began to breathe freely..."


(11-29-2015, 12:40 PM)Renatus Wrote: News of the rebellion did not reach Paulinus until his operation in Anglesey was in its final stages and, indeed, he may actually have been on his way back to London...

Dio tells us that operations on Anglesey were already complete when news of the revolt reached him; however, I suspect that the Anglesey attack was intended as the first stage of a wider campaign of pacification in North Wales. Paulinus may not have had any intention of returning to London at that point. As it turned out, of course, he had to abandon his Wales campaign, and the region was not fully conquered until the arrival of Agricola 16 years later.



(11-29-2015, 12:40 PM)Renatus Wrote: Officials were aware of unrest but did not take it seriously and did not think it worth telling the governor.

The division of power between Paulinus and Catus is an interesting unknown. It does seem as if the procurator had unusual authority over the 'pacified' regions; Paulinus may have though he could leave the administration of the Iceni to Catus. But doubtless the procurator would have informed him as soon as news of a large scale hostile force reached him.



(11-29-2015, 12:40 PM)Renatus Wrote: Paulinus knew of unrest amongst the Iceni but thought that it was confined to that tribe and that Cerialis and the Ninth Legion could deal with any trouble that might arise.

This seems plausible. Cerialis was presumably intended to deal with any problems with either the Iceni or the Brigantes, and Paulinus (perhaps unaware of the actions of his procurator?) may have thought that his force would be sufficient to do so.



(11-29-2015, 12:40 PM)Renatus Wrote: The outrage against the Iceni occurred after Paulinus had set off on campaign... open revolt did not break out until the campaigning season was well advanced.


As I mentioned above, the revolt must have started around the time of spring planting, and the major battles were completed before the autumn, when Paulinus received reinforcements from the Rhine and sent his army into winter quarters. Bearing in mind the transit times for messages to and from Rome and the movement of reinforcements, I think we can conclude that the campaign happened in spring to mid summer, and Paulinus therefore commenced his operations against Mona very early.

I would revise my (much) earlier estimate of the timeline of the uprising as follows:


c.March 61 - assault on Boudica and her daughters. This is the spark for the rebellion.

Mid April - Paulinus marches his army out of winter quarters and into North Wales. Iceni outrage spreads.

Early May - Iceni muster for revolt. Paulinus conducts operations against Mona. Procurator alerted to trouble among Iceni.

c.May 12th - Paulinus 'brings Mona to terms'. Iceni unite with Trinovantes and move against Colchester (5 days from the district of Thetford down to Colchester at a steady pace). Catus sends 200 men to aid defence.

c.May 14th - Paulinus hears of impending revolt and gets his troops on the road (11-12 days to London at 20 miles a day). Cerialis moves south to support Colchester.

c.May 17th - Iceni attack Colchester.

c.May 19th - Colchester falls to the rebels.

c. May 20th - Cerialis defeated near Colchester. Paulinus still marching south.

c. May 26th - Paulinus reaches London. Rebel force moving on the city. Paulinus retreats to St Albans.

Late May - after taking London and ravaging the Thames valley up to Staines, the rebels turn north. Paulinus pulls back to either Dunstable or Tring.

Early June - rebels meet Paulinus in battle and are defeated.


The compressed period of time available for the campaign makes it even less likely that either Paulinus or the rebels conducted any long-distance manoeuvres after leaving the vicinity of London.

*EDIT - another possibility: Paulinus may have sent his request for reinforcements after he heard of the defeat of Cerialis but before the final battle, perhaps while he was in London pondering his options. This might extend the time available for the 'delay and manoeuvre' stage of the campaign and set back the final confrontation. But it would not alter the timing of the revolt's beginning or the advances on London by much.
Nathan Ross
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I was with you up until late May (suprisingly enough) so I consulted the Lund map, which appears to suggest P-Force may have had topographic problems with it's flanks at those sites, still that's why we're here isn't it;

   
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(11-29-2015, 02:53 PM)John1 Wrote: P-Force may have had topographic problems with it's flanks at those sites

We've already discussed the flanking problems. As I've said, we won't find a suitable site in south-eastern England which isn't susceptible to flanking; Paulinus wasn't occupying a fortress.

As you know, I find the suggested site near Tring altogether too vulnerable - any site which positions its battle line facing away from the direction of the enemy advance is going to have this problem.

However, the ability of the Britons to conduct flanking operations may have been limited. Also, Paulinus could alter his position to forestall them. As I've said, he would not need to occupy the gap at Dunstable until the Britons were already moving along the defile from Flamstead and Markyate. Prior to that, he would have been several miles north-west. By the time he took up his position, the Britons would have moved beyond the entrances to the parallel valleys that could have flanked him, and their slow-moving wagon train would have made it difficult to turn around.
Nathan Ross
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(11-29-2015, 01:46 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote: c.May 14th - Paulinus hears of impending revolt and gets his troops on the road (11-12 days to London at 20 miles a day). Cerialis moves south to support Colchester.

c. May 20th - Cerialis defeated near Colchester. Paulinus still marching south.

Where do you see Paulinus being on these two dates?  When do you envisage Paulinus hearing of Cerialis' defeat and where would he be on that date?
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
Reply
but, but, but it wasn't me guv! It was the map what said it......

"Paulinus wasn't occupying a fortress.
well he was occupying a "steep place" (Nathan Ross 25 Feb 2013, post 543), you'd think he'd be at the top of it rather than the bottom/a third of the way up, with the bad guys having several options for routes to the top..... but do like the Dunstable logic very much, just not the flankability. I went to the site a couple of times last year and it didn't look a great place for P-Force to make sure the enemy was only to their front.

 "Where do you see Paulinus being on these two dates? "
Over seeing the construction of the redoubts at Church Stowe whilst waiting for the II to join up from the Fosseway. But I'm probably the only one with that view.....now everyone else seems to have dug in at Tring and Dunstable Angel
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(11-29-2015, 04:04 PM)John1 Wrote: Over seeing the construction of the redoubts at Church Stowe whilst waiting for the II to join up from the Fosseway.

Surely not!  Hasn't he got to get down to London and find it is a hopeless place to defend before he digs in at Church Stowe - or anywhere else for that matter?
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
Reply
watching the new Redoubts getting dug and the old ones reinforced at the central rv was getting a bit tedious, so he left the bulk of his men there digging, building and assembling artillery and went south with a small unit to check out the London situation...... Call me a heretic but I haven't bought into the "he took everyone everywhere" school of thought, it's up with the "she took everyone everywhere" theory concerning the British movements. The dashing round trip only took up 2 of his days, so lots of sitting on Weedon Hill staring across the Great Nene Plain to the gathering forces at Hunsbury.
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