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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
(11-23-2015, 11:07 PM)Renatus Wrote: Do you mean Portway?

Ach, dammit - yes! Thanks for pointing that out; I'll edit my posts above for clarity.


(11-23-2015, 10:38 PM)Theoderic Wrote: It is also interesting that the cavalry escaped but all the infantry were wiped out which might indicate a surprise attack.

The cavalry are often the ones to escape a lost battle! I'd say this might indicate the opposite: if Cerialis was ambushed on the road his cavalry would have been split up throughout the column and would have found it harder to get clear. Losing all his infantry and saving his cavalry suggests a field battle, where the cavalry were deployed on the wings and could have fled in a body once things went wrong. The Britons presumably lacked enough cavalry of their own to pursue effectively, and didn't fancy besieging C in his camp.

I still think the 'fort' he retreated to was his own marching camp, by the way.
Nathan Ross
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"I still think the 'fort' he retreated to was his own marching camp, "  Nathan Ross

I had thought it might be Longthorpe itself as there is a theory that it was reduced in size as an emergency measure during the Boudiccan Campaign;
http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=364099
If Cerialis hid out there, his new Longthorpe Garrision might have been one of the bypassed garrisons as the Iceni headed up the Nene. This would put Cerialis on point for bloody retribution as the Iceni retreated, then in pursuit, the viciousness of this may have allowed him to retain his position after the loss of most of the Ninth.

"Do you mean me?" yes, sorry Michael, I mistook you for a Robert, sorry about that.
I'm glad it was hyperbole, I wasn't aware of many theories and to be honest I don't see many options on the IX ambush, hence the Bartlow theory. We have two problems in the same area;

1, Where was the ambush, along a line from Cambridge to Colchester?
2, What are those massive 1st/2nd century memorial mounds (largest North of the Alps) doing in the bottom of a valley on the line between Cambrdge and Colchester?

rolling the problems together works for me.
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(11-24-2015, 08:12 AM)John1 Wrote: What are those massive 1st/2nd century memorial mounds (largest North of the Alps) doing in the bottom of a valley on the line between Cambrdge and Colchester?

Don't know, but they certainly weren't mass graves for battlefield casualties! [Image: wink.png]


"...a rich collection of grave goods, all dated to the late 1st and 2nd century AD, was found. Imported vessels and organic remains such as flower petals and incense evoke the funerary feast and reflect the wealth and status of the people buried here. The dead were cremated and placed into large wooden chests or brick chambers, which appear to have been lit by iron lamps."

Bartlow Hills Roman Burial



Somewhere closer to Colchester, I'd say, would be preferable. I tend to think that Cerialis had almost arrived at the city, but then discovered it had fallen. He mustered his troops for battle but his infantry were quickly overwhelmed by enemy numbers; he and cavalry escaped back inside his marching camp fortifications and later managed to slip away and join Paulinus.

But, of course, we know very little about any of this. As John says, the battle was somewhere between A and B - that's it!
Nathan Ross
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(11-23-2015, 10:38 PM)Theoderic Wrote: This could imply that the Brythons were returning from Colchester or that they had already returned and were waiting for a Roman attack.

I have argued against this before on the grounds, first, that the Romans would not have exacted retribution on the homelands while there was still a rebel army undefeated in the field and, secondly, that other tribes would have been disinclined to join the revolt if the rebels returned to their homelands after one success, as this could give the impression that this was just a local dispute.  However, I have been looking at the sources:

Impelled by this outrage and the dread of worse to come - for they had now been reduced to the status of a province - they flew to arms, and incited to rebellion the Trinobantes and others . . . (Tacitus, Annals, 14.31)

Nothing, however, pressed so hard as famine on an enemy who, careless about the sowing of his crops, had diverted all ages of the population to military purposes, while marking out our supplies for his own purposes. (Tacitus, Annals, 14.38)

It is established that close upon 70,000 Roman citizens and allies fell in the places mentioned. (Tacitus, Annals, 14.33)

Buduica, at the head of an army of about 230,000 men . . . (Dio, 62.8)

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)

. . . by some accounts, little less than 80,000 Britons fell, at a cost of some 400 Romans killed . . . (Tacitus, Annals, 14.37)

Even if the figures for the number of Britons are absurdly exaggerated and, possibly, include non-combatants anyway, this was BIG.  The fact that Iceni of all ages flew to the war and that they neglected to sow crops for the coming season, coupled with the presence of the wives at the final battle, indicates that this was little less than a whole tribe on the march and that they had, in effect, abandoned their homeland for at least a year, until the object of the rebellion, the elimination of Roman influence in Britain, had been achieved.  Thus, it is unlikely that they would have returned to defend their homeland from Roman retaliation because there was nothing, apart from deserted villages, to protect.
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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"Don't know, but they certainly weren't mass graves for battlefield casualties!"

well we only have a keyhole glimpse into what is there, and no idea how the site was used in the generations immediately after the event so I can't buy into any "certainties" with this. Monuments could have been raised to the casualties or for their nearest and dearest for several generations. Either the mounds were built over a long period i.e. decades for different individuals or they went up all at once in which case it was to mark something big. If a protracted excercise why would they be built in the valley bottom not on a highly visible ridge? maybe one of them is sat on top of a pile of human ash? maybe the soil is composed of ash? Would the site go unmarked?

   

"Somewhere closer to Colchester"
Now we're talking, how does this search zone work for you, dare to put a pin in it? Mine is staying at Bartlow.
Certainly a far smaller search area than we've ever attempted on this thread.


   

or slightly more northern to take in the Roman road at Haverhill;
   

p.s. it's a corridor about 22 miles long from Bartlow to the centre of Colchester
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(11-24-2015, 12:31 PM)John1 Wrote: Monuments could have been raised to the casulaties or for their nearest and dearest for several generations.

But if this was a monument to the Roman battle dead it would surely have been sacred to Mars Ultor or similar; no way the locals were going to start sticking their own relatives in there so soon!

If you can cite two or three other similar mounds constructed by Roman troops to inter their dead or mark a battle, I'd be more interested in this theory. But I don't think there are any - mound-building was a native British thing, not a Roman thing, and these mounds were doubtless raised by the local Romano-British aristocracy.

The battle site may be around there, but the mounds are a red herring, I think.


(11-24-2015, 12:31 PM)John1 Wrote: how does this search zone work for you, dare to put a pin in it?


I'm going for Steeple Bumpstead, just because of the name! [Image: wink.png]

Beyond that, no pins from me I'm afraid. We have absolutely no information about this battle except that it happened, probably in the general area you've indicated. The exact site isn't particularly relevant to the location of Boudica's final battle either.
Nathan Ross
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"mound-building was a native British thing, not a Roman thing"  
unless it was a bunch of Thracian settlers handed British land and lording it up with their fancy Balkan burial mounds?

Steep-Hill-Bump? you may have cracked it, an ambush on challenging terrain.....

ps this is really good for looking at the strategic picture;
http://dare.ht.lu.se/
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Those Lund maps make for great mid-scale bases, here's a shot at my strategic advance on the Church Stowe site looking within a few hours march.
   

The crossing from the Ouse to Nene Valley is via Piddington, a suitable pass. The guys excavating there are claimimg quite a substantial fort falling out of use "mid 50's - early 60's AD" some ballista bolts etc. Another fort/garrison bypassed or evacuated?
http://www.archaeology.co.uk/articles/fe...-villa.htm
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(11-27-2015, 01:41 PM)John1 Wrote: Those Lund maps make for great mid-scale bases

How do you make them work?  I can't do anything with it.
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, 03:31 PM)Renatus Wrote:
(11-27-2015, 01:41 PM)John1 Wrote: Those Lund maps make for great mid-scale bases

How do you make them work?  I can't do anything with it.

you can scroll around the Empire, it should start you in Rome then just use your mouse and the +/- to look at sites. The map I did was a screen capture to which I added the blue and red in Photoshop, so I hope you weren't looking for that tool. Sadly there isn't a layer of the battle strategy yet, but when there is it'll look a bit like the diagram above  Wink

or do you mean the Piddington crew? I had the same problem trying to get a beer out of them in 1984 as an under-aged digger, got nothing.....
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Thanks.  Now I see how it works.  I was trying to use the search facility.  According to that, Verulamium doesn't exist!  No trouble with Piddington; I'm a member of UNAS.
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, 06:23 PM)Renatus Wrote: I was trying to use the search facility.  According to that, Verulamium doesn't exist!

Like a lot of these sites, it has its foibles - St Albans is Verulamion I think. try using 'modern name' and it works better.

But it's a great site - I've been using it for over a year now. Never thought to use it for this though!...
Nathan Ross
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(11-27-2015, 07:30 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote: Like a lot of these sites, it has its foibles - St Albans is Verulamion I think. try using 'modern name' and it works better

St Albans doesn't exist either!
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
Renatus wrote:
 
Impelled by this outrage and the dread of worse to come - for they had now been reduced to the status of a province - they flew to arms, and incited to rebellion the Trinobantes and others . . . (Tacitus, Annals, 14.31)

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.   
 
Renatus wrote:

Nothing, however, pressed so hard as famine on an enemy who, careless about the sowing of his crops, had diverted all ages of the population to military purposes, while marking out our supplies for his own purposes. (Tacitus, Annals, 14.38)

This is possible but I think that the carnage of Boudica’s battle itself is the possible answer. The deaths of so many able and fit people would have had a marked affect on any of the winter wheat planting for AD60 with a reduced yield for AD61
 
Also Paulinus had a burnt earth policy after the first battle and forced most of the rebelling Brythons into the fens which appears to be borne out by recent archaeology.
 
Renatus wrote:
 
It is established that close upon 70,000 Roman citizens and allies fell in the places mentioned. (Tacitus, Annals, 14.33)

This does indeed indicate that London, St Albans and Colchester were populous places with a large number of Roman citizens.
 
Renatus wrote:
 
Buduica, at the head of an army of about 230,000 men . . . (Dio, 62.8)

This was later in this campaign when Boudica’s star was in the ascendant. Many extra tribes were attracted to her banner to get rid of the Romans and in typical Brythonic style they switched allegiances to Boudica.  
 
Renatus wrote:

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)

There is no doubt that this was a big operation and I would agree that the confidence of the Brythons must have been high with the huge number of fighters in comparison to the Roman force they were to fight and also the destruction of  the Roman towns and the defeat of a Legion (or part of a Legion) and also the capture of a number of forts. 
 
There is no mention of children at all although there is mention of large numbers of cattle being slaughtered.
 
Most armies had their camp followers and the Brythons would have had theirs especially as they were so confident.
 
Therefore this does not seem like a mIgraton.
 
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.
 
Renatus wrote:

. . . by some accounts, little less than 80,000 Britons fell, at a cost of some 400 Romans killed . . . (Tacitus, Annals, 14.37)

 
Possibly a correct figure but if that was the case, according to the figures quoted,  some 150,000 survived – still a mighty host who dispersed on the news of Boudica's death.
 
Renatus wrote:
 
The fact that Iceni of all ages flew to the war and that they neglected to sow crops for the coming season, coupled with the presence of the wives at the final battle, indicates that this was little less than a whole tribe on the march and that they had, in effect, abandoned their homeland for at least a year, until the object of the rebellion, the elimination of Roman influence in Britain, had been achieved.  Thus, it is unlikely that they would have returned to defend their homeland from Roman retaliation because there was nothing, apart from deserted villages, to protect.
  
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?

Prasutugus was known for his wealth but where this originated from is unclear. Was it in their land,  their trade or else where? The basis of any wealth is land. 

All the other land roundabout was already taken by other tribes.

This would be the same for the Trinovantes and others. 


Deryk
Deryk
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(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...
Nathan Ross
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