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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
Quote:Paulinus was retreating. Therefore Rule Number 2 of Campaigning in Russia applies: when retreating don't withdraw back down the road you used to advance (ask Napoleon).
But Napoleon did - and so have many other commanders throughout history! Not all of them came to grief either... Like so many of these north v west debates we've been having, too much rests on things we don't know; not least the question of how much the opposing forces knew of the strengths and movements of their opponents (Robert's point above about intelligence, of course).

Quote:I don't know enough about ancient agriculture to say whether or not crops suitable for autumn planting were available at that time or not... the impression given by Tacitus is that the Iceni simply went on the rampage without any thought of husbandry, relying upon seizing what they wanted when and where they could....
Tacitus, possibly, is playing on the trope of the thoughtless barbarians a bit here! The Iceni didn't sow crops in the spring because they expected the seize the Roman supplies, which would sustain them over the summer campaign season. But they were still a agricultural society, and unless they were indeed abandoning their lands they would want to return home for winter. Winter crops like wheat, barley, emmer and spelt were sown in October - neglecting to do this would risk famine. (a 1974 article here from Butser mentions winter planting in an Iron age British environment).

Quote:So far as the Britons were concerned, they had no cause to worry: they had overwhelming numerical superiority, everything had gone their way so far and they had trounced the legion that that had sought to challenge them. They would have been confident of dealing with anything the Romans threw against them, from whatever direction.
But I think Steve's point above about the necessity of defeating Paulinus applies here - the Britons may have been buoyed up by the fall of Colchester and the defeat of Cerialis, but wiser heads amongst them would surely have been aware of the much greater forces ranged against them - the majority of which (most of the twentieth, the remaining 3000 or so of the ninth, plus the presumably large auxiliary force Paulinus had assembled for his Anglesey campaign) being still in the north. The possibility of the united British army scattering across the wide expanse of western Britain plundering everything in sight, with a powerful Roman force somewhere to the north poised to strike either their rear or their tribal homeland(s) would be enough to suggest caution, I suspect. Keeping the army together and directing it against an identifiable enemy - Paulinus - in the vicinity with a relatively small body of men would avoid fragmentation and piecemeal defeat. Ironically, it could have been in the best interests of both Boudica and Paulinus to force a confrontation...

Quote:The weakness of the case that I have made for the northern route is that it postulates that Paulinus was luring Boudica into a trap on a strategic, as opposed to a tactical, level... it is stretching the evidence too far to place any reliance upon such a suggestion.
Paulinus' reputation after the campaign (ie the note in Histories) suggests that he was thinking strategically - although this could have been subsequent 'spin', of course! With so little evidence to go on, a fair bit of stretching is required - but you're right that we shouldn't start assuming anything...

Quote:I suspect Tacitus chose to mention Cogidubnus rather than Silchester, the royal ally being more important than the provincial town.
He mentions Cogidubnus in Agricola, and in relation to the initial invasion of Britain. There's also the note that C had been 'loyal ever since this point', which surely means that he didn't support Boudica, but this actually makes it even odder that such a known and named individual should escape mention if his capital city was destroyed by the rebels... Then again, Silchester did have earthworks, so perhaps the rebels, with their dislike of such things, just avoided the place... Confusedmile:
Nathan Ross
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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 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 Nathan Ross - 04-25-2012, 05:48 AM
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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