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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
#69
As I see it, there could be two reasons for Paulinus to take the northern route up Watling Street. First, having hurried down to London with a flying column, he was returning to rejoin his main army still making its way south. This notion has been pretty much discounted in this thread and, even if true, it would probably have been safer for him to have remained in London and to have let the army join him there. Secondly, he may have intended to intercept the rebels on the way back to their homeland, assuming that they would take Watling Street as far as Dunstable and then join the Iknield Way. This would place the site of the final battle at or near the junction of the two ancient roads or somewhere between St. Albans and Dunstable. Any site further north makes little sense. However, this would inevitably have left the enemy behind him, cutting him off from any possibility of reinforcement from legio II. Nor could he rely upon the rebels taking that route. According to Tacitus, the Iceni had not planted crops that year, relying upon getting supplies from Roman stocks. There was nothing awaiting them in their homeland except a winter of famine and hardship which, in the event, is what occurred.

The western route would have held attractions for both sides. For the rebels, the territory of the Atrebates, where crops would have been sown, would have provided supplies. They could either have sought to convert the tribe to their cause and to persuade them to share their crops or, more likely, have attacked them for their pro-Roman sympathies and taken what they wanted. Ahead lay the riches of Silchester and Cogidubnus' royal complex, wherever that was at the time. For the Romans, taking that route would have represented a strategic withdrawal into friendly country. There, refuge could have been found for the civilians accompanying the column, if that was a matter that concerned Paulinus, and preparations made for a counter-attack. Contact could have been made with legio II, which Paulinus still expected to join him, auxiliary units called up from the West Country, and a consolidated force then led out against the enemy. If reinforcements needed to be brought from the Continent, Paulinus would have been in a position to link with units disembarking at Chichester or other south coast ports and to add them to his army.

As it happened, there was no time for any of this. Learning that the rebels were proceeding in the same direction as he was and were coming up hard upon him, Paulinus selected a battlefield suited to the forces that he had available and waited for the rebels to come to him, with the result that we know. Given the development that has taken place along the putative Thames Valley route, it is unlikely that the site of the battle will ever be identified with certainty.
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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Messages In This Thread
Re: Calling all armchair generals! - by Ensifer - 03-11-2010, 03:13 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Renatus - 02-16-2012, 09:37 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 02-18-2012, 06:26 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 02-19-2012, 12:02 AM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 02-19-2012, 02:50 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 02-19-2012, 05:40 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 02-19-2012, 11:26 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-24-2012, 05:11 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-24-2012, 09:42 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-24-2012, 10:10 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-25-2012, 03:11 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-25-2012, 03:25 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-25-2012, 08:36 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-26-2012, 02:57 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-27-2012, 01:50 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 08-05-2012, 02:24 PM
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by antiochus - 11-07-2014, 02:18 PM
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by antiochus - 11-08-2014, 01:50 AM
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by antiochus - 11-11-2014, 02:03 AM
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by antiochus - 11-18-2014, 07:54 AM
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by antiochus - 11-20-2014, 02:37 AM
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by antiochus - 11-25-2014, 08:29 AM

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