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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
Nathan wrote:


1. The Iceni didn't need to 'take back their land' - at this point, the only Romans in their territory would be small groups sent by the procurator, probably land surveyors assessing for tax purposes, freedmen and soldiers grabbing whatever Decianus felt might be portable: plunder, certainly, but not yet occupation. These groups, being mobile, would certainly have hightailed it to Colchester at the first sign of trouble, taking their loot with them. If the Iceni wanted vengeance, rather just to be left alone, they'd have to leave their own territory to get it...

I think that Tacitus implies more than just a set of tax gatherers more like a set of thugs reducing rich families and owners to penury. To indicate slavery is pretty harsh and obviously Tacitus is not impressed at what is happening in either the Iceni or Trinovante territory. We are not sure about the vengeance just a tribe of set of people taking back what was theirs originally.

Nathan wrote:


2. Tacitus says the Iceni neglected to plant summer crops before the revolt. This means they were intending to leave their land, for a season at least, and planning to find grain elsewhere - Roman supplies surely. So there would be no reason for them to return home to their fallow fields, and plenty of reason for them to go after the Roman supply dumps.


Does he actually say "summer crops"?

"Nothing however distressed the enemy so much as famine, for they had been careless about sowing corn, people of every age having gone to the war, while they reckoned on our supplies as their own."

If this was the winter wheat this would make sense. Tacitus is indicating it was because they went to war that they did not sow the crops, not because they were going to go to war. I think that there is a fundamental difference. Also it would have been pretty noticeable that the Tribes weren't planting crops, which you would have thought would have sent alarm bells ringing......?


Nathan wrote:

3. The Trinovantes had plenty of opportunities for attacking Colchester before this. They did not, IIRC, participate in the Iceni revolt of 47. So why did they rise in 61? The Iceni crossing their borders bent on revolt, swelling their numbers and bringing rousing stories of Roman injustice may have been a cause.

The AD47 revolt was due to the removal of arms by a friendly power. The Iceni had never fought the Romans, had agreements with them and thought they were their allies. The Trinovantes were never in that league, had no weapons and were in effect part of the Roman Province and were at that time perfectly happy with what was going on. The fremoval of their lands etc. wasn't happening at that time.

Nathan wrote:


4. At the final battle the Britons were more numerous than ever. Coordinating a big multi-tribe group would be very difficult, especially if they were splitting up into smaller groups and wandering about the country. Smaller groups could be destroyed piecemeal. Far more likely that Boudica and the other leaders kept them together in one mass (more a swarm than an army, but cohesive at least).


I have a feeling that we underestimate the Brythons as a fighting force because the Romans were so good. At the battle of the Medway which lasted for 2 days there were supposed to be some 160,000 Brythonic warriors so the Brythons were used to massing huge numbers agt a particular muster.

There is an underlying problem. Who provided the glue that held all this together?

John1 / Nathan wrote:

A little harsh considering I haven't posted my alien invasion theory yet!!!

Ah yes, but I haven't posted my theory that Tacitus himself burned London as part of the publicity campaign for his new fictional epic 'The Histories', sequel to his blockbuster 'Agricola' - he was the Dan Brown of his day...



Sense at last!!!!! :?
Deryk
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seems a RAT poster was almost on top of Catthoprpe with the Tripontium site 10 years ago....
http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat.html?fu...=entrypage
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I was down the pub at lunch time and put this point from 317680 to some bloke at the bar;

"These ideas about the origin of the name Boudica are all very well, but fail to account for the king of the Iceni, Prasutagus, having what appears to me to be a perfectly good 'celtic' name! All the study demonstrates is that there a lot of names that look a bit like Boudica or Bodicca or Bodvocca spread around all over the place, including 'celtic' regions."

to which he said;

For a discussion of the name Prasutagus, see ‘The language of inscriptions on Icenian coinage’ by Daphne Nash Briggs, pp 83-102 in Davies, JA (ed) The Iron Age in Northern East Anglia: New Work in the Land of the Iceni. BAR British Series 549. ISBN 9781407308852 (2011),

Prasutagus was probably a secular title equivalent to the sacral title Esuprastus, for a man who very likely spent some of his education in Rome and who would have known Latin and maybe Greek quite well.

The Prasu- or –prastus part is a loan from Latin praesto ‘stand before’ with a meaning well rendered by modern English preside and priest.

Tagos was Greek for ‘commander’ and also the name of a river in Portugal. It has not been accepted into Delamarre’s corpus of the Gaulish language and epigraphic databases show no sign of it in compounded names that look particularly Celtic. There was a tagos toutas in Cisalpine Gaul and a Tiotagos in Reims; neither region was as Celtic as some people like to make out.

It is possible to construct etymologies for Prasutagus in Germanic (and probably Outer Mongolian too) that are at least as plausible as anything in Celtic. His title proves as little about his ethnicity or home language as, for example, the name Richard or the title archbishop does today.


at whcih point I had to go for another round.... Big Grin
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After that I need a drink too!!!
Deryk
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Hi John

I am obviously missing something here.....

You and Nathan keep referring to the Brythons going home and then attacking Seutonius Paulinus again at a later stage.

According to the Watling Street theory wouldn't the Brythons just have followed good old SP up through St Albans, Dunstable and on to Tripontium?
Deryk
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Just as a parenthetical thought, imagine the difficulty of getting that whole horde "home" then reoutfitting and heading back out to battle. :!: Now imagine the lesser logistical headache of just continuing on.

There were many thousands of warriors and civilians on that trek. It would take a long time to make the first option happen. (Of course, that doesn't mean it did NOT go that way, just that a strategic thinker in the Briton council would surely have pointed out how much difficulty it would create to disband and reassemble--and how vulnerable they would be during the transitional period.)
M. Demetrius Abicio
(David Wills)

Saepe veritas est dura.
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I really keep trying to avoid this thread - but you keep posting such interesting things... :wink:

Quote:I've just taken a look at Dunstable again, can it be defended from an approach other than the south? doesn't seem so, I can see why you would resist any theory NOT complying with the parade theory,
Well, I'm trying not to just defend my corner too much - but I'd have to mention Steve Kaye's point from some time back, that the Dunstable site is more effective (in his view) if the Roman position is reversed 180 degrees, so defending against an enemy from the north... :-)

I do think that calling it a 'parade' is a bit much though! If we can assume that the Britons were in place A and moved in a certain direction towards place B (ie London via St Albans to Dunstable, say) it's not that much of a 'parade' is it?

Quote:Does he actually say "summer crops"?
Ah, good point, he didn't! The spring sowing is usually assumed, to coincide with the start of the spring campaigning season for Paulinus over at Wroxeter/Wales. Ancient military campaigns tended to be spring-autumn, and ones based on agrarian communities even more so. But we can't be more definite than that.

Quote:I was down the pub at lunch time and put this point from 317680 to some bloke at the bar;
Some interesting pubs you frequent!

I'm surprised, as I thought the Icenian coinage actually bore out the name as a name. But, well - the same has been said for 'Boudica' I suppose (and a number of similar figures from antiquity!)

Quote:You and Nathan keep referring to the Brythons going home and then attacking Seutonius Paulinus again at a later stage... According to the Watling Street theory wouldn't the Brythons just have followed good old SP up through St Albans, Dunstable and on to Tripontium?
I follow the 'Watling Street theory' myself, as it seems to make the best sense of the evidence. John's theory, which I hope I'm not misrepresenting, involves the use of east-west (approximately) river valleys rather than the Roman road network, and so anticipates the Iceni moving west from their homeland. It's interesting, but as I've said before we know they had wheeled transport so roads would be (?) the quickest route. But I'll leave it to John to explain further...
Nathan Ross
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Quote:a strategic thinker in the Briton council would surely have pointed out how much difficulty it would create to disband and reassemble--and how vulnerable they would be during the transitional period.)
Yep - my point exactly!

As another parenthesis, I read an essay quite a while ago that examined various popular 'native' or peasants' uprisings, from the German Peasants War to the Indian Mutiny - one of the relevant points was that the rebel leaders took considerable pains to try and keep their fractious forces together as a single body. It was when they split up and started ravaging around in small groups that they were picked off one by one...

The same piece mentioned that the targets for these rebellions are often very similar - infrastructure, communications and administration. So tax offices, postal systems and anything with paper records are often the first to be destroyed - anything that both represents the oppressor and might enable them to reassert their power in future...

Interesting, perhaps, as procurator Decianus would presumably have been assessing the Iceni lands for future taxation purposes. Destroying his records would have been a symbolic and practical act of resistance. These records may have been kept in either Colchester or London.
Nathan Ross
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you shouldn't tar Nathan with that one, it's only me, on my own, completely isolated. The theory goes something like this;

There was a big horde at Colchester, there was a big horde at the final battle. The two events were days or weeks apart, holding that big a force together and feeding them would be tough. So did the horde move as one? did it move as several units? did it assemble for each of the two events?

In any of those scenarios how could they have got to the battle site? in my case I am testing this against the CS site. If it is CS or within the general northern area, it’s a great base to threaten Norfolk the links to which would be along the Nene and Ouse valley’s. Reinforcements using this route would allow for the swelling of Brit numbers before the final engagement rather than the diminution of the force one would expect over time.
In any of the three scenarios you’d need a muster point for the Brits before battle, if using Watling St the column could take days to reach a given point. In the event the muster point could cope with a big column, other mobile groups and indeed back up from Norfolk all at once for the final roll of the dice. It’s a simple and effective tool, low management, low complexity, easily transmitted and easily pre-briefed.

The road system is a roman invention and isn't very developed in terms of size (maybe), may not yet be considered more effective than the pre-Roman routes and was not fit for the Iceni’s purpose. The straight plan lines are very inefficient in terms of slopes, Watling St around Towcester goes up and down constantly whereas the river valley’s connect at grade, more useful for a cart encumbered big force. So there is a chance the Brits are using the network they were using before 43AD which in this case is the great Nene and Ouse alignment, whether the valley’s or ridges.

So rather than a big column going into action, relax a bit, there is going to be a pitched battle, both sides want it. SP isn't on the run, there is no-where to run to, he has his pre-selected position he has had time to dig in. There is very little speed/discipline/cohesion in Brit numbers but they are told to be at an RV so they get there from whatever direction, when there are enough of them then they head down the road a few miles to where the Romans have pitched up. So now we are looking for a battle site and a pre -battle muster site as well and then the rationales to justify each.

This whole “gone home” theory is blatantly derived from a justification of the CS site, it’s almost reverse engineering. When the site really is located we will be able to unpick how forces moved and assembled, but I’m pre-empting this for CS as an attempt to see where this site can pick holes in/ re-interpret some assumptions that are made in the debate that has faltered at Mancetter for some decades now.

Please don't loose any sleep over this idea, there are as many reasons against it as there are for it.
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Nathan wrote:

Well, I'm trying not to just defend my corner too much - but I'd have to mention Steve Kaye's point from some time back, that the Dunstable site is more effective (in his view) if the Roman position is reversed 180 degrees, so defending against an enemy from the north..

Perhaps that is one of the problems with the Dunstable site. It is open to attack from both the North and the South. So not only could SP be outflanked but he might have had the Iceni or the Catvellauni or the Corieltavi coming at him from the North and the Trinovantes from the South or any combination of the same as Watling Street was already up in arms when he matched down it.

If we are taking all of Tacitus "on board" we have to accept the statement:

Suetonius, however, with wonderful resolution, marched amidst a hostile population to Londinium,


This is again one of the points for a South Western retreat from London rather than a North Western retreat from London. Would SP have put a legion of his infantry at risk in a hostile territory in a subordinates care?
Deryk
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but I'd have to mention Steve Kaye's point from some time back, that the Dunstable site is more effective (in his view) if the Roman position is reversed 180 degrees, so defending against an enemy from the north... or was he being polite about it getting clobbered from the east?

I do think that calling it a 'parade' is a bit much though! yep I was really out of order with that one, but you're the first to rise to it, thanks, I will desist from using "parade", it will hence forth be "military and civilian combined column to include jugglers and marching bands" (MCCCJMB), has a certain ring to it wouldn't you agree?

imagine the difficulty of getting that whole horde "home" then reoutfitting and heading back out to battle. no whole horde, maybe 50%, maybe 75%. You can hear them now;
"yeah yeah, I know Betty (Bou) said we've got to stick together, but Bob copped it and we really need to take him home to his Mrs, and I'm not going anywhere fast wiv all this gold bullion around me good throwing arm, it's Boootiful and her indoors will luv it. Seriously give us a couple of days and I'll be right back. If not I'll meet you over at Norf'ampton, we can catch the ferry I hear it's lovely this time of year, planning a big bender there for the next fixture..oh by the way fancy a new spear got this sweet deal on a dozen un-used pilum's.. damn got to dash I just remembered I forgot to plant my crops DUH !"
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Hi John

Castle Stowe - of course - I have read it a few times - my only problem with it is once the Romans charged the Brythons could have fanned out and enveloped them because they could "spread" (as it were) to allow the extra men to be absorbed - a bit like an amoeba.

The idea that the Brythons used the river valleys and old trackways makes a lot of sense.


[attachment=5016]ROUTE.jpg[/attachment]


I have cheekily stolen your map and indicated aroute for the Trinovantes and the Iceni to arrive at Cunetio using the old routes, ensuring that SP cannot go North as long as they parallel his route and follow him as two separate tribes. Other tribes could also muster there from North of the Thames swelling the numbers.


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Deryk
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Church Stowe;

[attachment=5017]400mfieldoffire.jpg[/attachment]
the circle are the 400 fields of fire from the supposed field fortifications. In this theory the waggons were between Stowe Wood and the base of Weedon Hill, out of range but with a great view of the assault on Castle Dykes. The Roman wedge came over the saddle between Weedon Hill and the 147 spot height, not much space for dispersal there, then there was the cavalry on the wings/ridges racing along to cut off the retreat.


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A suggestion, before we go any further...

Not sure what others think, but it seems to me that this thread is now getting very long and repetitive in places. Few people, I think, will be tempted to join in the debate with so much backlog to wade through first!

Might it be an idea to start a new thread, called something like 'Boudica's Revolt - Strategy and Tactics' or similar, briefly summarising our respective positions so far, providing links to relevant sections of this thread and inviting others to join in?

:?:
Nathan Ross
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cetainly long, but whilst components are repeats to bring forward points that may need reaffirming, there always seems to be new and worthwhile elements to engage with, I think this is why it has drawn in new expertise such ans steve and deryk who had formerly not been posting their material on RAT. I think we could do what you say as the thread is about the location of the last battle and each location has sketched out a strategy to fit whcih has been very worth while. So whilst an artificail division it may help engage others. I recall you did a good summary only a few pages back.

Could I suggest an alternative? "Nathan Ross" and "John1" be restricted to posts that do not exceed 100 words in length and can only post when directly asked their views or have something entirely new to report.

I have to reiterate this is Deryks fault, we had kept quiet for several weeks.
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