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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
Thanks for that. You have dealt with the first point, the route to Church Stowe, and to some extent the third, assuming that it was known that Suetonius had established himself there and that that was where the battle was going to take place. I am not sure that you have tackled the second question, why the wives were there in the first place, other than to say that word had gone out 'to mass as large a force as possible to deal with and witness the battle'. Is that it? A number of supplementary questions have already arisen but I will wait to see if you have anything to add on the second point before I ask them.
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
Thanks for that, John - a very detailed scenario, and it's interesting to see the way your ideas have developed!


(12-01-2018, 01:28 PM)John1 Wrote: I do question... the timeline that is applied to the campaign

What is it you particularly question about the timeline? As I wrote somewhere up the thread, if we stick with Tacitus's summary of events then there is very little spare time for the two sides to move about - a month or two at best.


(12-01-2018, 01:28 PM)John1 Wrote: I don't see how the campaign would happen without distinct mustering points ... each candidate battlefield advocate should surely have this on the required "to define" list.

Although you only need 'mustering points' if you are moving the campaign up into the Midlands, and assuming that the Britons are roaming about in diverse groups over long distances.

Otherwise, Tacitus supplies all the points we need - first Colchester, then London, then St Albans, then the battle. None of them are that far from the others, and moving between one and next presents no great logistical difficult, I would say.


(12-01-2018, 01:28 PM)John1 Wrote: fast moving war bands out looting, self sustaining and highly motivated - it's how asymmetrical warfare has worked forever.

Certainly, although that is not what was going on in the campaign that our sources describe, which features large field battles, massed groups gathered in one place, and the destruction of cities.

If guerilla warfare was so effective, we might ask why the Britons didn't remain in their homeland after sacking various places and wait for the Romans to invade - that would be 'asymmetrical warfare'. Going out en masse in a great procession with wives and wagons to confront the enemy in their 'fortified position' certainly would not.


(12-01-2018, 01:28 PM)John1 Wrote: a reasoned base for the Romans, a reasoned base for the Iceni, a reasoned route for the combatants pre and post battle, I have yet to see this from other candidates.

I think most the various candidate sites put forward on this thread have suggested all of the above!
Nathan Ross
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"I am not sure that you have tackled the second question, why the wives were there in the first place, other than to say that word had gone out 'to mass as large a force as possible to deal with and witness the battle'. " Ren

I think this is a question for all interpretations of the campaign, this is the campaign led by a woman, Dio claims there are women in the ranks so we have a picture of a society where there was no gender separation of roles in combat maybe something the Romans were advocating against. So were they wives and family or was it actually an "army" with a fundamental different gender and age profile to that which the Romans had encountered before.

Another scenario that works for both paradistas and non-paradistas is that logistic roles were taken on by women and children.

Another scenario is that the campaign was seen to be over and the final conflagration was going to be such a walk over so the whole population came to watch the events unfold as a cultural experience, the vengeance for the Druids, and to make the most of reaping the loot rewards of the day or to simply have a good knees up before and after the intended smiteing of the foreigners defileing home and religion.

I originally thought about this it was 2011 whilst sandwiched between the burning horizons of Peckham, Deptford and Woolwich, during the White Goods Riots. The age and gender profile that night were very "inclusive". The same occurred to me tonight watching Paris do it's civil disobedience thing with cobbles and torches, civil risings do have an age and gender profile that is not the military norm. I suspect with 61AD we are looking at a civil rising not a military campaign.

It's an interesting topic but not a CS specific one. I'm pretty sure it was a new model army out looking for vengeance.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxqWdSOVI9U

"a month or two at best"  - Andrew
I agree that works for me but Appleby and Marix-Evans are working on the basis of days or hours to contact.

 "you only need 'mustering points' if you are moving the campaign up into the Midlands" - Andrew
Disagree certainly for Paulinus to bring in the II and other units would have required a mustering point. In the case of the Brits, any column (parade) of the speculated numbers would have needed a point for the vanguard to stop and then wait a couple of days for the rear end of the same moving column to catch up even if they were moving at the same pace as the lead units. How many hours would it take for a single column of disciplined men to pass an individual point, multiply that many times for numbers, slow it for non-military personnel and throw in time for scouring the landscape for food and loot. It would be days......

"sources describe, which features large field battles" - Andrew
that makes for an easy narrative and comprehension this allows the drama of a single action in a classic narrative standard with clearly defined characters and characteristics and virtues, it's like watching a war film from the 50's. I think the texts describe something else in terms of Paulinus' movement to and from London with roving bands to dodge this does not suggest a singular massive entity to me.

"Going out en masse in a great procession with wives and wagons to confront the enemy in their 'fortified position' certainly would not."  -Andrew  
Take a compressed version of Vietnam as a bad example, VC engages with multiple small actions of attrition, ends with ARVN sending tank columns into Saigon, asymmetrical warfare can evolve into big masses if successful enough, ok timeline very different but what starts as a relatively small force getting big wins against soft targets advances into a mass out in the open overwhelming the former strong man, only this time Bou's ARVN didn't take Saigon, it's still there at the head of the Nene occupied by  the traces of Roman field fortifications and a huge memorial structure.

"various candidate sites put forward on this thread have suggested all of the above" -Andrew
LIST THEM, for each of the candidate sites show me a camp or series of suitable camps  in the vicinity of the candidate battle site. I honestly haven't seen that level of  precision from most of the candidates. Most wave vaguely at a field over there or show no recognition that a huge group would be bedding down for more than a few hours pre-contact. Steve looks at this best by working from logistics.
You have to find places on either side of the proposed site with the scope to accommodate the swords of 1000's of men, women and children then over the hill they go to meet the enemy at least a mile away;
www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AywIL5_eYM

439046
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(12-01-2018, 08:43 PM)John1 Wrote: Dio claims there are women in the ranks so we have a picture of a society where there was no gender separation of roles in combat... 

Do you mean Tacitus? Annals 14.35: ""There," he said, "you see more women than warriors. Unwarlike, unarmed, they will give way the moment they have recognised that sword and that courage of their conquerors, which have so often routed them." (plus illic feminarum quam iuventutis adspici. imbelles inermes cessuros statim, ubi ferrum virtutemque vincentium totiens fusi agnovissent).

This is often mentioned in relation with the 'warrior women' idea, but I think the sense of it is that the women are not warriors, but are mixed up with the men and make the horde look bigger.

Tacitus also says that the Britons, "so fierce in spirit that they actually brought with them, to witness the victory, their wives riding in waggons" (et animo adeo fero[ci], ut coniuges quoque testes victoriae secum traherent plaustrisque imponerent)

Clear distinction here between the 'wives' and the rest - so we can rule out any idea (at least from this source) of a mixed-gender rebel army!


(12-01-2018, 08:43 PM)John1 Wrote: the whole population came to watch the events unfold as a cultural experience, the vengeance for the Druids, and to make the most of reaping the loot rewards of the day or to simply have a good knees up

As I think we established above, there was probably no connection between the druids and the Iceni. But, as T says above the 'wives' were there to 'witness the victory' - although this tells us nothing about how far or from where they had travelled.


(12-01-2018, 08:43 PM)John1 Wrote: for Paulinus to bring in the II and other units would have required a mustering point.

Yes, and we have one - St Albans, the meeting point of Akeman and Watling Street.

One of only three locations mentioned by Tacitus, a Roman-allied settlement, and the place where Paulinus could best be reinforced from both north and west, while guarding his line of communication and preserving observation distance with the enemy. (As I've said before, if he went galloping off into the Midlands he was effectively blind. Useless!)


(12-01-2018, 08:43 PM)John1 Wrote: I think the texts describe something else in terms of Paulinus' movement to and from London with roving bands to dodge

As you know very well, the 'texts' describe absolutely nothing of the sort!


(12-01-2018, 08:43 PM)John1 Wrote: Vietnam... ARVN sending tank columns into Saigon... only this time Bou's ARVN didn't take Saigon... Roman field fortifications and a huge memorial structure.

Have you been watching that Ken Burns documentary or something?

I shall put all this down to your imagination running away with itself... [Image: tongue.png]


(12-01-2018, 08:43 PM)John1 Wrote: LIST THEM, for each of the candidate sites show me a camp or series of suitable camps  in the vicinity of the candidate battle site.

As we have also discussed many times, the considerable lack of identified marching camps in southern England makes this almost impossible. We know they must be there somewhere... but nobody's found them (yet!)

In 'waving at a field' terms I would, for the Newground site, identify anywhere in the vicinity of Tring Station or the plain east of Tring itself as a suitable Roman camp ground, level and well watered. Alcester (Claudian/Neronian vexillation fortress) is within a day's march. Cow Roast looks like a good elevation for the British wagon camp, and has produced Roman military remains. The Britons approach along the Bulborne from St Albans, then flee in the opposite direction, one of them perhaps ditching the 'Tring helmet' on the way! The site is within ten miles of St Albans, so no need for intermediate camps.

For Manshead, the strategic camp would be at Tilsworth, and the tactical one at modern Dunstable - both show 1st century ditch lines, and have water access. Britons move up via Flamstead and Markyate, and assemble west of Kensworth, drawing water from the headwaters of the Ver.
Nathan Ross
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At least try to join on the 80's music video game.......

1, I think you stick too close to the texts but then we've been through that before. But if we are literal,the women in the ranks seem very much like the 2011 example, and the witnessing wives answers Rens, "why were the wives there".

2, Maybe maybe not I don't think we know either way, even if your view is correct it might still have been a reason for non-Iceni to swell the ranks.

3, "if he went galloping off into the Midlands he was effectively blind. Useless!" paah... CS is as far south as he could be without leaving his rear exposed to Iceni getting behind him from the Nene, and CS is only 25 miles or so straight up Watling Street from Dungstable, hardly deep in the oulu for someone promoting Dunstable and Tring + it's where he was the night before with a comfy pad on top of the hill.

4, you and your texts, loosen up a bit, they are writing a historically based fiction to entertain and inform the masses several decades later, try some historical fiction once in a while you might enjoy it.

5, Imagination !!!  no that's just an illusion (not falling for that - I refuse to link the video)

6, what a tenuous set of fields with a tenuous set of maybe's...... give us some ditched enclosures as a minimum, they don't have to be bona fide Roman but something to make us think you are at least looking..... and then you've only done 2 of the sites I need 7 more covered for your comment to stand.

I put a lot of effort into my polite reply to Ren, but you seem to think this is some sort of duel, but all you do is repeat paradista propaganda.....
www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnQ2zOmb6Hg

oh go on then....
www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQ95XzvJtvs
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(12-01-2018, 10:44 PM)John1 Wrote: the 80's music video game......

Heaven forfend!


(12-01-2018, 10:44 PM)John1 Wrote: leaving his rear exposed to Iceni getting behind him from the Nene

That would be the Iceni commando brigade that Boudica had cunningly left behind for the particular purpose of attacking the Roman rear, while advancing against Colchester with all the strength she could muster?...


(12-01-2018, 10:44 PM)John1 Wrote: you and your texts, loosen up a bit

[Image: wink.png]


(12-01-2018, 10:44 PM)John1 Wrote: give us some ditched enclosures as a minimum

You and your ditched enclosures!...


(12-01-2018, 10:44 PM)John1 Wrote: all you do is repeat paradista propaganda.....

But I believe it is you that is the true 'paradista', with your great communal procession across the Wash and into the Midlands!
Nathan Ross
Reply
"That would be the Iceni commando brigade that Boudica had cunningly left behind for the particular purpose of attacking the Roman rear, while advancing against Colchester with all the strength she could muster?..."  No that would be most of the force that had done Colchester and the IX who had returned home with plunder whilst war bands burned a poorly defended and deserted London and St Albans whose garrison had joined Paulinus in returning up Watling Street.... weren't Commandos a lot later or is this a vague ref to the Boer/Dutch potential common ancestry with the Iceni

"You and your ditched enclosures!..." well they seem to have been pretty important to people with swords 2000 years ago.

"But I believe it is you that is the true 'paradista', with your great communal procession across the Wash and into the Midlands!"   ok I'll say it slowly, big force of a combined set of bands approaching from the south, others potentially coming form the east along the Nene, a route which also gave Paulinus the opportunity to threaten an advance into Iceni territory

"Heaven forfend!"  exchange "I'm" for "You're"   www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjPhzgxe3L0
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(12-01-2018, 11:41 PM)John1 Wrote: most of the force that had done Colchester... returned home with plunder whilst war bands burned a poorly defended and deserted London

If the main Iceni force were already back 'home', why did Paulinus go all that way down to London at all? Why did he consider fighting a battle there? Why did he evacuate the city?


(12-01-2018, 11:41 PM)John1 Wrote: they seem to have been pretty important to people with swords 2000 years ago.

Just as historical texts are important to people 2000 years later trying to work out what happened in the past! [Image: biggrin.png]


(12-01-2018, 11:41 PM)John1 Wrote: big force of a combined set of bands approaching from the south

There's a fuzziness creeping into your sense of scale here. These 'small war bands' in the south have now turned into a 'big force'; but 'most of the force' that attacked Colchester have already returned home?


(12-01-2018, 11:41 PM)John1 Wrote: gave Paulinus the opportunity to threaten an advance into Iceni territory

So why wouldn't the Iceni wait for him to do that, rather than conveniently walking into his trap? Threatening Iceni territory is only useful if the bulk of the Iceni army are elsewhere (ie London or Colchester) and Paulinus can menace their undefended homes and lands.
Nathan Ross
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Let's take a step back to my original questions about the wives and wagons. John has, I think, answered the second question: the wives were there simply to witness the battle. Nathan has made the point that they were spectators, rather than participants. The notion that there were women in the ranks of the rebel army, even if only to swell the numbers, is a red herring. Nathan has identified the passage in Tacitus. It is in Suetonius' pre-battle speech to his soldiers and is pure rhetoric. The wording is important: plus illic feminarum quam iuventutis adspici (literally, 'See there more of women than of the warrior'). The use of the genitive plural (feminarum) and genitive singular (iuventutis) is significant. He is referring to the character of the rebel army, not its composition. Moreover, femina can mean, not just 'woman', but an effeminate male. So, what Suetonius is saying, in not particular PC terms, is in effect, 'Look at that lot! They're not soldiers; they're a bunch of poofs! Show 'em a sword and they'll leg it!'

Where did these wives come from? There seem to me to be two possibilities: either they were with the army already or they came over especially from their homelands to see the final showdown. I agree with John that this was not a normal military campaign, in which the men went off to fight and the women stayed at home, but a civil uprising in which all were involved. One scenario that he presents has the women providing logistic support to the fighting men and this seems to me to be the most probable. He is right that a large rebel army and its followers would take some time to assemble but this is not a problem. Suetonius was playing for time for his reinforcements to join him, so the longer the enemy took to assemble the better. However, as Tacitus says, he eventually realised that this was all taking too long and decided to offer battle. If Dio is right that he found the enemy pressing upon him, this amounts to the same thing: the enemy were assembling in such numbers that, if it went on too long, they would become almost impossible to defeat.

Of course,, this amounts to a 'parade' but the alternative is impossible to contemplate. If the wives were to come from their homeland, they would have to be summoned, they would have to assemble somewhere (unless they were to come over in dribs and drabs, at the mercy of any hostile forces they might encounter) and then there would be the journey itself of something like 100 miles from (say) Thetford to Northampton which, depending on the daily distances they could coax out of their oxen, would take between 10 days and three weeks. I'm afraid that I can come to no other conclusion but that the wives were with the army all along.
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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(12-02-2018, 01:16 PM)Renatus Wrote: I can come to no other conclusion but that the wives were with the army all along.

I agree entirely.

Good point about the 'logistical support' too - the Britons were not a professional army, and did not know how long they would be away on campaign. Of course they brought their wives!

Coupled with the sensible and widely-held opposition to the notion of long-distance 'parades' across country, these points support the view, I would say, that the final battle site cannot be more than a day or two's journey from London and/or St Albans, the last mentioned locations of the rebel force.
Nathan Ross
Reply
"final battle site cannot be more than a day or two's journey from London and/or St Albans," Windridge to Church Stowe = 40 miles so still in play. All the rest fine no problem,

Fuzziness - small war band maybe 5000 strong, big force 100k plus. Fuzziness is all we have for the next few months,

Thetford to Arbury Hill 80 miles mostly on the Ouse. 2 - 4 days if you are reasonably fit. 40 miles = 10 hours for most of us when fit-ish and up for it. no need for oxen and carts you can nick them on the way.

"Coupled with the sensible and widely-held opposition to the notion of long-distance 'parades' across country," ???????? really?
www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-fWDrZSiZs
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(12-02-2018, 02:21 PM)John1 Wrote: ???????? really?

Absolutely! The 'parading up Watling Street' notion belongs entirely to the Webster scenario of a battle in the Midlands. It is not necessary otherwise.

I always thought that was the point of your constant ribbing - nobody really supports it (except you with your '80 miles in 2 days' - ha!)


EDIT - I was referring to days' travel at wagon speed - 8-12 miles per day seems the best estimate, from various historical sources.
Nathan Ross
Reply
(12-02-2018, 03:03 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote: The 'parading up Watling Street' notion belongs entirely to the Webster scenario of a battle in the Midlands. It is not necessary otherwise.

I always thought that was the point of your constant ribbing - nobody really supports it

Is this 'parade' John's 'single huge unit'? How do you see them moving about? In a series of smaller, inter-connected groups, perhaps?
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
(12-02-2018, 04:43 PM)Renatus Wrote: How do you see them moving about? In a series of smaller, inter-connected groups, perhaps?

Yes, that sounds right. A nucleus around Boudica and the other leaders, with smaller subgroups branching off to plunder and forage, scouting ahead sometimes, rejoining the main group at intervals. More a swarm than a column. The same way that large rebel groups in the pre-modern era generally formed up and moved about.

They would need to maintain some sort of unity for mutual protection, as they would have known that the Roman army was out there somewhere and their strength lay in numbers. But they comprised people from several different tribes, with presumably several different leaders - whoever was in overall control (Boudica, perhaps) would have wanted to keep them together, and avoid factions splitting off and doing their own thing if at all possible.
Nathan Ross
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Nathan....... You are no longer a Paradista....
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