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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
Quote:If, as Richard Hingley suggests, B (royal birth, etc) was related to Cartimandua... Who was the woman who succeeded Cartimandua around AD 85?

I like Hingley's book a lot, but I don't recall his reasoning behind this suggestion. As far as I know, Boudica was just 'of the royal house' (Tacitus). No ideas about relations elsewhere. Cartimandua had been restored to her throne by Roman troops just a few years before the uprising - she wouldn't have much to gain by pitching in with the Iceni. She was deposed again (by her ex-husband Venutius) in 69 - the Romans rescued her, but Venutius apparently retained control until the Brigantes were subdued by Petilius Cerealis c.72-75.


Quote:Where did the Iceni, Trinovantes (Briganti?) get their armory from?

They would probably have been disarmed after the attempted revolt in 47. However, disarming an entire people is seldom easy or easily enforced, as we've seen in more recent times... no doubt there would have been caches of hidden weapons that could be 'recommissioned' in case of need. However, it is likely that the majority of the rebel warriors would have been armed with improvised weapons, farming implements and captured Roman gear.


Quote:I have read somewhere that it was illegal to crucify a young girl, hence ritual abuse.

You may be thinking of the anecdote (earlier in T's Annals, and Dio too) that the daughters of Sejanus were raped before their execution, as it was illegal to execute a virgin. One of the more charming bits of Roman legislation... Boudica's daughters were possibly so treated to render them unmarriageable; Prasutagus had included them in his will together with Nero, presumably so their future husbands would inherit a portion of the Iceni kingdom and so keep it out of Roman hands.


Quote:Was T. really mistaken...?

Probably! Agricola was written quite a while before Annals, and there are other differences between the two accounts. This should also remind us that Tacitus was no great authority on 1st century Britain and its people!


Quote:What was he delaying for? The logical explanation is that he was waiting for reinforcements.

That is logical yes, and in general I agree. However, I was trying to think laterally - for all that certain aspects of Paulinus's planning might seem obvious to us now, we can't rule anything out purely on the grounds of such logic. Generally I'd say it's safer to make assumptions about the behaviour of the Britons than of Paulinus, who probably had much greater freedom of movement and many more options available to him.
Nathan Ross
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Quote:
davidscott post=343664 Wrote:Was T. really mistaken...?

Probably! Agricola was written quite a while before Annals, and there are other differences between the two accounts. This should also remind us that Tacitus was no great authority on 1st century Britain and its people!

Thereby nullifying ANY source on the battle whatsoever, so pay your money and take your chance.
Moi Watson

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Merlot in one hand, Cigar in the other; body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!
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Quote:Thereby nullifying ANY source on the battle whatsoever.

Heh heh. Yep :twisted:

But all I meant was that while Tacitus may have known a fair bit about the battle and the Roman side of the operation, he may not have known so much about the British side of things, the geography of the country or the affiliations of the various peoples. So mapping his Romano-centric account onto our contemporary idea of the realities of Britain at the time is not a simple matter...

Incidentally, I can't believe I'm still discussing this subject after two and a half years! Madness - but I enjoy it...
Nathan Ross
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TRING BATTLE PART 1

Hi All

So to the battle.

I am postulating that Seutonius Paulinus had decided (for the reasons that I have already surmised) to occupy the “Tring Plateau” as I have termed it as a natural fortress.

I believe that he had the remaining Roman citizens from Londinium and Verulamium (who had not left when he arrived at these towns) with him and set up camp on the plateau.

Again I surmise that SP had time to defend the position and to send messages to local auxiliaries to join him which they duly did (Tacitus).

There is a possibility that either the veterans of the Twentieth were with SP, the Fourteenth and the mounted Batavians attached to the Fourteenth as well as cavalry.

On the other hand the veterans of the Twentieth possibly based at Gloucester and the cavalry regiments of the First Wing of Thracians also possibly based at Gloucester and also the Indus Wing of the Gauls possibly based at Cirencester

It would have taken them about 2 to 3 days to get to Tring more than enough time before the Brythons arrived.

Either way the Tring site suits both scenarios.

So what could be defended?

On one side of the plateau lies Grim’s Ditch along the ridge. It would not have been difficult or take much time to fortify this defence with wooden stakes or pits or indeed with calthrops as well as artillery.

As Nathan showed in his excellent diagrams, there are four comparatively easy access points to the plateau.

The rest of the plateau could only be accessed up extremely steep hills unaccessible by chariots.

Having taken Nathan’s and John’s points about the woods on board this is only one of the natural defences (although we are led to believe that the woods were important for SP according to Tacitus) – the other being the steepness of the valleys or access from the plain to the plateau parts which are almost sheer.

I would also add that the use of calthrops in this scenario would not have been unusual and would not have been difficult to distribute them throughout the woods completely slowing down the advance however I can see that this cannot be relied on

We are led to believe by Dio that Boudicca’s forces at the battle site had increased from 120,000 at Colchester to 230,000 at this juncture.

An increase in forces of an army is only to be expected where people or factions are attracted to the standard of a successful general – in this case Boudica .

If we are to believe Dio this would indeed be a huge number but if various parts of the country were up in arms as Tacitus implies, a number of tribes with anti Roman feelings could have come together at the battle site to make up the numbers.

Apart from the Brythons who had just sacked Londinium and Verulamium warriors could have met at Tring along the Icknield Way East from the lands of the Iceni (as per John’s scenario) or from the South West or from the Midlands and congregate opposite the plateau by Akeman Street.

The assembly of such a vast horde would have taken some time and would have decamped along the line of march possibly Akeman Street and the Icknield Way taking advantage of the River Bulbourne to replenish their water supplies.

This would have been opposite the Roman Camps.

It is also likely that they would have been familiar with the site.

Seutonius Paulinus’ military challenge was to somehow nullify the numerical advantage of the Brythons.

A huge task which makes me think that he had some knowledge of the site to have chosen the plateau with its mountain-like valleys which suited his style of battle (we should not forget that he had already had 2 years of successful campaigning in Wales before his success at Anglesey).

We should not ignore that both Tacitus and Dio state that SP changed his mind about giving battle, Tacitus because he received reinforcements (perhaps part of the original call to arms) and Dio because the enemy still pursued him and that he was running low on food.

So it appears that circumstances allowed SP to confront the Brythons either because he thought the time was opportune or through necessity.

Both accounts reinforce that SP was thinking on his feet at all times and having to be prepared for all options both planning for and reacting to constantly changing conditions.

I believe that there was an overall plan to defend the citizens now sheltering on the “Tring Plateau” which used the natural terrain to both protect and extend the Roman Line and at the right time give the Romans an advantage over the Brythons so the plan had to be both fixed yet fluid.

Like others I think that the Tacitus version of the battle is too simplistic and perhaps that is because Agricola may have been part of one of the three divisions mentioned by Dio and therefore reports his division’s activities to Tacitus because that is what he saw.

I would be the first to acknowledge that I am indeed an armchair general and do not have any military experience so I would be grateful for any military opinion on the following proposition.

Strategically the battle hinges on making the Roman line being able to stretch to a long distance, encourage the enemy to engage, not be outflanked yet make progress as an effective killing machine that it was, with the minimal loss of his troops.

Seutonius Paulinus would have needed to get the Brythons to attack his line in a particular way so needed to create the stage.


To be continued.......
Deryk
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TRING BATTLE PART 2

Unusually I am going to argue the Dio option of SP splitting his troops into three Divisions because to give the Romans an advantage the battle could not have been just as Tacitus states because it is likely that once out of the valley / defile / throat they would have been surrounded and swallowed up by the vast opposition.

If that is the case in my opinion there may be another way but again it would depend on the topography which I think is available at this site.

I have broken down the divisions into something that I think would work but of course it is only a supposition.

He needed to attract the opposition into the main valley (with the Roman Camps to his rear) which is only a thousand meters at its narrowest point.

The First Division

This Division would comprise of 4,500 men (3,000 Legionaries and 1500 Auxilliaries)
This Division would be deployed first in the main valley and be visible to the Brythons.

Second Division

This Division would comprise of some 3,000 men (1,500 Legionaries and 1,500 Auxilliaries) and would not be visible to the Brythons on the plain

Third Division

This Division would comprise of some 3,000 men (1000 Legionaries,1,000 Mounted Auxilliaries and 1000 Cavalry) and again would not be visible to the Brythons on the plain.

It is highly likely that the Brythons would have known the Tring Plateau well being situated on the Icknield Way and also having two nearby iron age forts, Boddington Hill Camp and Cholsbury Fort.

Seutonius Paulinus needed to attract them into the valley and so deployed his first division in the main valley where the Roman camp was situated opposite the horde.

My supposition is that the Brythons would have attacked the Roman line within the valley and that this was the viewpoint of Agricola which he told to Tacitus.

The Romans took on the Brythons in this first valley but in my opinion SP was relying on the Brythons to attack up the other two major access points so that he could widen his line and pull in the Brythons.

By using this strategy SP extends the effective line from the 1,000 yards to around 3 miles.

The Brythons from their point of view would have wanted to confront the main force on display but also outflank the Romans and get at the camp and therefore send troops up the second valley onto the plateau

SP however had forseen this by stationing his other two divisions at the top of the “access points” (2 & 3) on the plateau with a combined force of some 6,000 which guarded against being outflanked, patrolling Grim’s Ditch and the 4th Access Point at the rear.

to be continued......
Deryk
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TRING BATTLE PART 3

1. Brythons attack up the first valley and are repulsed with a volley of javelins and then the Roman line (5 deep) charge the Brythons and the battle begins

2. Keeping to the defile and pivoting on the left hand side the Roman army extends its line in close order across the valley as it slowly advances up the right hand side of the valley.

3. The Brythonic advance has been halted and is being slowly beaten back in valley 1 so the Brythons launch a second attack up valley two in order to outflank the Roman army, believing it to be empty but in reality another division is waiting over the ridge on the plateau.

4. SP launches this Division onto the unsuspecting Brythons engaging them in a similar way to the First Division slowly beating the Brythons back down the second valley

5. There are now tens of thousands of Brythons in the two valleys fighting over an extended line of some 3000 meters with 7,500 Romans committed.

6. On the plateau there are a further 1000 Legionaries guarding the “access point 3” (but out of sight) with 1000 mounted Batavian Auxiliaries patrolling Grims Ditch “access point 4” with scorpions and bowman also along the defensive lines and 1000 cavalry supporting the Legionaries.

7. Boudica and her Leaders now launch another encircling attack move up the steep slopes at Wiggington only to be confronted by the Legionaries holding the line with scorpions and bowman.

8. By now both armies were engaged over a front that covered around 3 miles and the Brythons were either slowly retreating or being held by the three Roman Divisions.

9. The Brythons could extend their line again by attacking from the other side of Grims Ditch but this would thin out their line against Division 3 at Wiggington

10. It is my contention that once the Brythons were attacking Grims Ditch and were committed, that SP signalled the Legionaries at Wiggington to charge and by so doing release the 1000 cavalry down the hill, followed by the 1,000 mounted Batavians.

11. This charge takes the Brythons by surprise and the Romans are amongst the Wagons and Camps of the Brythons and atttacking the flank of the Brythons fighting Division 2 causing them to retreat and allowing Division 2 to charge and push the Brythons into the wagons.

12. This in turn causes problems for the Brythons fighting Division 1 and they also break allowing the Legion in Division 1 to follow up and slaughter the fleeing Brythons .

13. The Brythons flee as best they can on all fronts being slaughtered by the Romans and Tacitus reckons perhaps 80,000 to the point that the Romans just couldn’t kill any more.

This is a huge defeat for the Brythons, not complete annihilation by any means but it is the turning point of the war and the Brythons never combine in such numbers again in the South but continue to fight sporadically and stay under arms until a new Governor replaced Seutonius Paulinus.

There was of course massive depredation and also major famine because so many had been killed and could not plant the winter wheat.....

Kind Regards - Deryk
Deryk
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TRING BATTLE PART 4

DIAGRAM:
Deryk
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TRING BATTLE PART 4

Trying to attach PDFs but not much luck :-(

[attachment=7903]TRING10409.gif[/attachment]

Cheers - Deryk


Attached Files Thumbnail(s)
   
Deryk
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TRING BATTLE PART 4

DIAGRAM


[attachment=7904]TRING20409.gif[/attachment]


Attached Files Thumbnail(s)
   
Deryk
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TRING BATTLE PART 4

DIAGRAM
Deryk
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Sounds very complicated! A sketch map might help...

If you're having trouble adding pdf images, try saving the images alone as jpegs and inserting them using Attachment and Add File below the messaging box.
Nathan Ross
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TRING BATTLE PART 4

DIAGRAMS


[attachment=7905]tring01.jpg[/attachment]


[attachment=7906]TRING2.jpg[/attachment]


[attachment=7907]TRING03.jpg[/attachment]


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Deryk
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I am not sure where we are. This looks like a different site from that previously discussed. A North point might help.
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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Renatus stated:

I am not sure where we are. This looks like a different site from that previously discussed. A North point might help.

Hi Renatus

My apologies but I am having major difficulties loading diagrams but I will try again.

This site is very large and the previous battle area that we discussed is on the south western side of the plateau... this battle site is on the north eastern side f the plateau facing Tring and Akeman Street....

[attachment=7908]TRING01.png[/attachment]o

Kind Regards - Deryk


Attached Files Thumbnail(s)
   
Deryk
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Renatus stated:

I am not sure where we are. This looks like a different site from that previously discussed. A North point might help.

Hi Renatus

My apologies but I am having major difficulties loading diagrams but I will try again.

This site is very large and the previous battle area that we discussed is on the south western side of the plateau... this battle site is on the north eastern side f the plateau facing Tring and Akeman Street....

Kind Regards - Deryk
Deryk
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