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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
Quote: gives the Wash to the Iceni

It doesn't look like those 'tribal boundaries' are based on anything more than rather arbitrary traditional thinking; all we know is the approximate areas occupied by various peoples at some time or another.

I don't see any reason why the Iceni wouldn't have 'ruled' the Wash, or at least part of it - although I doubt boundaries in such a (literally) fluid environment were very fixed. But unless you consider the campaign to have gone way north, this area doesn't come into it much anyway... ;-)
Nathan Ross
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"But unless you consider the campaign to have gone way north, this area doesn't come into it much anyway..."

well "way north" is where the Romans are coming from so I guess it has to come into any rational consideration of the campaign. So it is only not a material point if one is considering the campaign in a southern bubble.

But I agree with the potential fluidity of the boundaries Generalissimo Paradista Wink
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Stonea Camp is suggested as the site of a battle between the Romans and the Iceni in 47AD.
Could the finds that imply this, actually be the remains of Paulinus' sweeping up excercise in 61AD?
The wiggle room on the C14 dates look good enough to me;

http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=372473
http://www.roman-britain.org/celtic/stonea_camp.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonea_Camp

thanks for the pointer Deryk
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John 1 wrote:

Stonea Camp is suggested as the site of a battle betrween the Romans and the Iceni in 47AD.

Could the finds that imply this, actually be the remains of Paulinus' sweeping up excercise in 61AD?


This is a good point that fits more the aftermath of the uprising in AD61

An alternative contender regarding the AD47 uprising and defeat of the Icen in would be Wandlebury Hill Fort (Wandlebury Ring) near Stapleford, Cambridgeshire, which was an Iceni border fort.

This hill fort is well located commanding both the Iknield Way and also the Cam Valley and the “Via Devana” that ran from Chester to Colchester as follows:

Colchester, Wixoe, Cambridge, Godmanchester, Medbourne, Leicester, Mancetter, Water Eaton, Newport, Whitchuirch, Chester.

Interestingly this road was possibly the route taken by the 9th from Godmanchester to Colchester where it was defeated en route (possibly outside Wixoe at Sturmer or its surrounds.

This was also possibly the route that the Iceni were expecting the 14th to travel down in support of the 9th.

This is possibly why they were not in London before Seutonius Paulinus but in ambush on the Via Devana which had been so successful previously
Deryk
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Wandlebury Hill Fort (Wandlebury Ring)

I seem to recall some years ago Grahame Appleby pointed out Camden stated this was the site of Boudiccas defeat. I'll see if I can dig out the reference.

It would seem the Sturmer Bowl Barrow has a convenient Boudicca association;
http://unlockingessex.essexcc.gov.uk/uep...nt_id=5708

http://www.pastscape.org/hob.aspx?hob_id=376992

I'm pretty sure we could weave Wixoe, Bartlow and Wandlebury into a combined ambush (face to face confrontation) and fighting retreat scenario.
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Quote:This was also possibly the route that the Iceni were expecting the 14th to travel down in support of the 9th.

This is possibly why they were not in London before Seutonius Paulinus but in ambush on the Via Devana which had been so successful previously

Quote:I'm pretty sure we could weave Wixoe, Bartlow and Wandlebury into a combined ambush and fighting retreat scenario.
This idea of an ambush is a purely modern invention. As previously mentioned, there is nothing in the Latin to indicate that the encounter between the Ninth and the rebels was anything other than a simple face-to-face confrontation. If it took place near Wixoe, it is highly unlikely that the rebels would wait there in the expectation that Suetonius and his troops would be coming that way to relieve the ruins of Colchester. Knowing that Cerialis and his cavalry had escaped, they are hardly likely to have imagined that dispatch riders would not have been galloping hot-foot to advise Suetonius that there was nothing left of Colchester to save and that he would be wasting his time to go there.

I do think it likely that Suetonius was proceeding down the Via Devana, initially intending to link with Cerialis and the Ninth and to go together to relieve Colchester, but that, on being informed of the fall of Colchester and the defeat of Cerialis, he diverted down Ermine Street at Godmanchester. We do not know how long he was in London before the rebels arrived but it need not have been very long. They would have been delayed by plundering between Colchester and London, as well as probably moving more slowly anyway.
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 wrote;

This idea of an ambush is a purely modern invention. As previously mentioned, there is nothing in the Latin to indicate that the encounter between the Ninth and the rebels was anything other than a simple face-to-face confrontation.

I think that the reference is as follows:

“The Britons, flushed with success, advanced to give him battle. The legion was put to the rout, and the infantry cut to pieces. Cerealis escaped with the cavalry to his entrenchments.”

The only problem with this argument is that on the one hand we have a mob plundering between Colchester and London for some days and yet on the other hand this same horde is an organised force marching towards Cerialis to give him battle and defeating him.

If the Ninth marched down the Via Devana and was attacked face to face by the Brythons this would not have been on the way to London from Colchester but rather a victorius army returning home.

It is well documented that the Brythons did use the ambush regularly and it was a hugely successful ploy however it may have been that the 2,000 infantry were destroyed in a face to face confrontation as stated which would have been a worry for SP and a reason why he needed to find a site to fight the Brythons which favoured him.

Renatus wrote;

I do think it likely that Suetonius was proceeding down the Via Devana, initially intending to link with Cerialis and the Ninth and to go together to relieve Colchester, but that, on being informed of the fall of Colchester and the defeat of Cerialis, he diverted down Ermine Street at Godmanchester.

Good point but this destroys the “London dash” theory.

Renatus wrote:

We do not know how long he was in London before the rebels arrived but it need not have been very long. They would have been delayed by plundering between Colchester and London, as well as probably moving more slowly anyway.

The rebels didn’t arrive in London until after Seutonius Paulinus left.

There is no reference in the texts that the Brythons moved really slowly, this is an interpretation of a migration that has been applied rather than an army.

Surely there wasn’t that much to plunder on the way to London to slow down the army.

Previous Brythonic armies moved equally as swiftly as the Roman Army for the previous 18 years so why is it assumed that this army was any slower?
Deryk
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Quote:“The Britons, flushed with success, advanced to give him battle...”

There's also the mention (in Agricola, I.5) of 'armies intercepted' (intercepti exercitus), which presumably refers - in a poetic plural - to Cerealis's expedition.

I agree with Michael that neither quote specifies an ambush: it sounds more like the Britons, having already taken Colchester and hearing of Cerialis advancing on them, moved out to block his route. This could have happened quite close to Colchester itself, and possibly Cerialis didn't accurately estimate their numbers until it was too late to extricate his force from encirclement. I think this would count as an 'interception', but perhaps the Latin word has other connotations.
Nathan Ross
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Quote:The only problem with this argument is that on the one hand we have a mob plundering between Colchester and London for some days and yet on the other hand this same horde is an organised force marching towards Cerialis to give him battle and defeating him.
Nathan has already dealt with this. I see no need to repeat what he has said.


Quote:If the Ninth marched down the Via Devana and was attacked face to face by the Brythons this would not have been on the way to London from Colchester but rather a victorius army returning home.
The problem with a thread that has been going on for as long as this one is that arguments previously made get forgotten. This point has already been answered. This was not a little local difficulty but a major uprising. Before setting off on her campaign, Boudicca set about enlisting the support of the British tribes generally to throw the Romans out of the province. If she wanted to retain that support, she had to carry the campaign forward, not return home after one success.


Quote:Good point but this destroys the “London dash” theory.
I don't think anyone in this thread has supported the 'London dash' theory.


Quote:The rebels didn’t arrive in London until after Seutonius Paulinus left.
But how long after? An hour, twelve hours, a day, two days, a week? We do not know but, as I have said, it need not have been very long.


Quote:Previous Brythonic armies moved equally as swiftly as the Roman Army for the previous 18 years so why is it assumed that this army was any slower?
Wives and wagons, 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
Nathan Ross wrote:

I agree with Michael that neither quote specifies an ambush: it sounds more like the Britons, having already taken Colchester and hearing of Cerealis advancing on them, moved out to block his route.

I can accept this but the corollary is that this does not sound like the action of a slow moving horde but a well organised force that knows that an army is coming to attack them whilst they are themselves on the march.

For a general of Cerialis undoubted skill (although perhaps rash) to not have realised that there was a huge group confronting him does seem a little strange.

The problem is that there has to be consistency – either there is a slow moving horde or a swift moving army or an acknowledged mixture of both.

Renatus wrote:

Deryk wrote:
Previous Brythonic armies moved equally as swiftly as the Roman Army for the previous 18 years so why is it assumed that this army was any slower?

Wives and wagons, perhaps.

This again doesn’t seem to fit the early part of the war and we know it was regarded as a continuing war, even after Boudica’s defeat from SP’s later actions.

How on earth did a slow moving huge horde surprise the people of Colchester in such a manner that there were no preparations for defence made at all.

Especially as Roman forts were destroyed in the occupied territory.

Tacitus makes reference to the inhabitants of Colchester being re-assured by locals that it was nothing to worry about, but surely the inhabitants of Colchester would have had time to escape if the Brythons were travelling so slowly.....


Renatus wrote;

The problem with a thread that has been going on for as long as this one is that arguments previously made get forgotten.

This is not necessarily the case. The points have been raised and argued but not necessarily accepted by all, so perhaps are still up for debate?

Renatus wrote:

This was not a little local difficulty but a major uprising. Before setting off on her campaign, Boudicca set about enlisting the support of the British tribes generally to throw the Romans out of the province. If she wanted to retain that support, she had to carry the campaign forward, not return home after one success.

Perhaps we have to agree to disagree here. I think that that there are (at least) two camps of thought regarding the early campaign

The first view is the one described by Michael (above) where the horde (comprising a number of tribes?) led by Boudica destroys Colchester and sacks it over a period of days , and proceeds slowly onto London plundering all the way, destroying the Ninth (via a short diversion) and arrives in London after Seutonius Paulinus has left. This horde then follows Seutonius Paulinus, destroys London and St Albans and is defeated at an unknown location.

The second is that the Iceni and the Trinovantes alone destroyed Colchester. In this second theory after the sack of Colchester, the Trinovantes reclaimed their land and farms (looted and plundered back from the Roman settlers if you like) whilst Boudica and her followers returned home to defend their land against the subsequent arrival of the next Roman army which did not invade but went to London.

When the Roman Army retreated, the Trinovantes and the Iceni then chased Seutonius Paulinus (perhaps via a number of routes), destroying London and St Albans on the way. In the process, attracting other tribes to their banner because of their successes and catching the Roman Army at an unknown location chosen by Seutonius Paulinus where the Brythons were defeated.

Is that a fair summation?

Renatus wrote:

I don't think anyone in this thread has supported the 'London dash' theory.

OK - not necessarily the “London Dash” but certainly leaving the infantry somewhere on Watling Street and approaching London with limited mounted forces only.
Deryk
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Quote:I can accept this but the corollary is that this does not sound like the action of a slow moving horde but a well organised force that knows that an army is coming to attack them whilst they are themselves on the march . . . The problem is that there has to be consistency – either there is a slow moving horde or a swift moving army or an acknowledged mixture of both.
There is no problem with this. A likely scenario is that, having destroyed Colchester and before moving off for the next stage of the campaign, the rebels became aware that Cerialis and his forces were approaching. The fighting men then turned to confront him and, having defeated him, returned to their families at Colchester and set off to pillage and forage their way to London.


Quote:This again doesn’t seem to fit the early part of the war and we know it was regarded as a continuing war, even after Boudica’s defeat from SP’s later actions.

How on earth did a slow moving huge horde surprise the people of Colchester in such a manner that there were no preparations for defence made at all.

Especially as Roman forts were destroyed in the occupied territory.

Tacitus makes reference to the inhabitants of Colchester being re-assured by locals that it was nothing to worry about, but surely the inhabitants of Colchester would have had time to escape if the Brythons were travelling so slowly.....
There was time enough for the inhabitants to send messengers to Catus Decianus and to Cerialis requesting help and for both to respond. Indeed, it may have been the presence of wives and families that could have enabled what I have called the fifth column in Colchester to persuade the colonists that their fears were groundless and that those approaching were not a predatory warband but some sort of peaceful tribal movement. So far as the destruction of the Roman stations is concerned, knowledge of that would have depended upon someone getting through to them with the news. They may not even have known that this had happened.


Quote:The second is that the Iceni and the Trinovantes alone destroyed Colchester. In this second theory after the sack of Colchester, the Trinovantes reclaimed their land and farms (looted and plundered back from the Roman settlers if you like) whilst Boudica and her followers returned home to defend their land against the subsequent arrival of the next Roman army which did not invade but went to London.
That would have handed the initiative back to the Romans and would have been a been a fatal mistake. The rebels would have had to maintain their impetus in order to attract other tribes to their cause and to retain them. If they returned to their homelands without achieving that, they would be inviting massive retaliation by the Romans and inevitable defeat.


Quote:OK - not necessarily the “London Dash” but certainly leaving the infantry somewhere on Watling Street and approaching London with limited mounted forces only.
This is merely a variation on the 'cavalry dash' idea. Nathan has repeatedly made the point that this would be entirely alien to a cautious general like Suetonius. Moreover, we are told that he abandoned London because he considered that he had insufficient forces to defend it. This implies that there was at least half a chance that he could have mounted a defence. It would be a ludicrous statement if all he had with him was a cavalry bodyguard. Even if we were to accept the notion, it could only be on the grounds that the arrival of the legionary force was imminent, not that it was trailing its way down miles away up Watling Street.
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:

This is merely a variation on the 'cavalry dash' idea. Nathan has repeatedly made the point that this would be entirely alien to a cautious general like Suetonius.

And I have always agreed with Nathan as I said... all I indicated was that you did as well even though some others don’t.......

Renatus wrote:

A likely scenario is that, having destroyed Colchester and before moving off for the next stage of the campaign, the rebels became aware that Cerialis and his forces were approaching. The fighting men then turned to confront him and, having defeated him, returned to their families at Colchester and set off to pillage and forage their way to London.

Renatus wrote;

Indeed, it may have been the presence of wives and families that could have enabled what I have called the fifth column in Colchester to persuade the colonists that their fears were groundless and that those approaching were not a predatory warband but some sort of peaceful tribal movement......

From these statements I presume that you are proposing a complete tribal movement.

This was a huge risk to their families as they weren’t migrating anywhere only to destroy a number of cities with no guarantee of finding adequate food for the huge horde, where they were going after destroying the cities or what forces were going to be thrown at them.

As theirs was an agrarian and horse based society it seems unlikely that either the Trinovantes or the Iceni would leave their lands as they would need to be tended and the crops harvested.

Also one of the main reasons that the Trinovantes rebelled was because the Roman settlers stole their land in the first place.

Renatus wrote:

The rebels would have had to maintain their impetus in order to attract other tribes to their cause and to retain them. If they returned to their homelands without achieving that, they would be inviting massive retaliation by the Romans and inevitable defeat.

Surely they knew before they started, that to attack Colchester would invite a massive retaliation by the Roman army anyway. To leave themselves exposed on the move would be to invite disaster unless they had a better plan.

The tribal movement idea and it does not fit in with any type of previous aggression by the Bythons in decades of fighting.

Rather the Brythons would move their families out of danger unless they were sure of victory.

They could not be confident on the numbers that Seutonius Paulinus would bring with him and indeed if SP had brought the whole army of 35,000 to bear down on them they would have been destroyed.

Better surely to defend their own lands in the first instance and harass the moving Roman armies that would come to pillage and burn the villages as they had done during Julius Caesar's invasions of BC54.
Deryk
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I don't think anyone in this thread has supported the 'London dash' theory.
I think "Tim" supported this only the other week, ok it was just reported here, but the theory is alive and well in academia, it's in all the books and tv specials. Personally I'm 90% sure Paulinus went to London, although I seem to be rather more skeptical about the accuracy of the texts than everyone else (I just have to live with being an outsider on that Sad ). But we are all working on the basis that he went to London then went somewhere else at some distance from London as the civilains weren't all up to the trip, this could imply speed or distance or both were the problem for these individuals.

So the question is still did he go to London with a relatively small mobile force to have a look at the situation or did he commit to bring his entire column (very long and very slow) with him to check out the situation? I am certain we don't have an answer to that question.

In speculating about this we have to invoke the issue of the RV with Legio II. They could have been tasked to join up with the main body either at a single known RV, or along a line, such as a road, maybe Akeman Street. Of the two I would judge the point destination to be the more likely, certainly as Paulinus was working it out as he went along in terms of heading to London and only then making the strategic decision to stay or go. If he set an RV at a known secure point, secure in terms of defensive topography and secure from an enemy who threatened his eastern flank, it would be a muster point for not only the big forces such as Legio II but also for any small garrisons that couldn't just go bimbling around looking for a column on the move. This seems the most cautious/sensible strategy so fitting Nathans interpretation of Paulinus' character.

In our 3 current campaign models Paulinus went down to London and then with, or without his slow moving column he went back up Watling Street (I'm deliberately missing out the West for the moment);

1, to Tring.....................32 miles
2, to Dunstable.............35 miles
3, to Church Stowe.......64 miles

If option 1 or 2 are the site, then the distance from London is not great, I contend it is not far enough to put off any civvy apart fom the most infirm and if the whole army were present the column would be moving at a relatively slow pace so easy to tag onto.

If the choice is option 3 it is rather more off putting in terms of distance for the civvies but with an attached column it is still do-able with baggage carts etc.

This suggests to me that both Tring and Dunstable are too close and, with a slow moving column, too achieveable for civvies for their abandonment to be worthy of mention. It also suggests that if the entire column was headed back up Watling Street, that CS is still an easy destination for civilians BUT as a slow moving column it would be wide open to an Iceni approach from the East. I therefore contend that only CS has the distance criteria to put off the civvies and only not having a full column speeds the Romans up enough to put off said civvies. I must therefore conclude that Paulinus' brief separation from his main body by a 48 hour "London Recce" cannot be written off as easily as is being suggested here and furthermore the perceived "speed and distance" problem identified by the residents of London, may in fact encourage us to think about a greater distance of travel from London as a determinant on where the site may be. This may also impact on the judgement of any Thames Valley proposals where any less mobile civvies could have got on a barge.

Hopefully Moi will chip in on how feasible a "dash" would be from CS to London one day, overnight in the city, then a one day trip back up Watling Street. My instinct is that a 64 mile trip on road maybe a bit chaffing but, under the duress of a massive rebellion, would be feasible in order to understand and judge a fast changing situation. (I note on another thread Moi suggests 80KM/50 miles as being in the frame, but could this be extended if horses are changed over in London or en route, so maybe there is courier range to consider too, Pony Express doing 75 miles a day)

Nathan has repeatedly made the point that this would be entirely alien to a cautious general like Suetonius.
I made two points earlier in this post, 1, that I have less respect for the texts than others here and 2, that in fact a northern RV is probably a reasonable cautious response by Paulinus. In making these points I know I will be rubbing some people up the wrong way but there is a fundamental difference in speculation process going on in this thread.

I'm not an historian or a lawyer, I'm a geographer I deal primarily with land, I come at this project literally from the ground up. I believe those from text based professions come to the interpretation through a text down process. Personally I think this is very stimulating and useful for the project, however I don't accept the primacy of the text, it is a subordinate component to the land for me. My current observation is that the text is too dominant in many candidates sites, resulting in weak geographical proposals either strategically or topographically. So please do not be offended when I don't buy into the certainty some hold for the particular subtle interpretations of text or character. When we have seen sites effectively written off it is not the text that has done this, it is the intractable realities of topography and distance.
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Quote:So the question is still did he go to London with a relatively small mobile force to have a look at the situation... I am certain we don't have an answer to that question.

I am certain we do. Paulinus had scouts to 'look at the situation' for him; he went to London to fight a battle, not just look around. This, I'm afraid, is no longer a question, whatever 'Tim' might think!



Quote:a muster point for not only the big forces such as Legio II

This assumes that the whole of Legion II were available; I'm increasingly convinced by the idea that they were only a veterans detachment, maybe a thousand men or so, left under the praefectus castrorum to guard the camp while the main legion were with the army in north Wales. Bringing a relatively small force to a rendezvous point either on the southern stretches of Watling or at London itself would pose few difficulties, I'd say.



Quote:his slow moving column

Roman legionaries were trained to march at full pace 24 Roman miles a day (19.164 modern miles). This makes them, over long distance, faster than any other moving body of the era, including cavalry and excepting only messengers using horse relays. Certainly at least twice as fast as the Britons. Paulinus had a considerable movement advantage.

When Paulinus evacuated London, those who went with him ("those capable of accompanying the march") were not just people able to march at that speed - something many untrained civilians would have found difficult, but not impossible - but those unable or unwilling to abandon their homes, families, and most of their possessions.

As Tacitus says, those who remained "had been detained by the disabilities of sex, by the lassitude of age, or by local attachment". So there is no need, I think, to assume that the people who followed the army were having to keep up with galloping horsemen, or were expecting to march for three straight days or more into the Midlands.
Nathan Ross
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I envy your certainty, but can't share it
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