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

With so much hinging on a single word, I think Michael's strategy of going back to original latin is the best option here. Tacitus says 'the victorious Briton' - so the same people as conquered Colchester defeated Cerialis. Unless the singular refers to 'the victorious British people', perhaps?

I do agree with you about having a translation down to the Latin. Sadly my linguistic skills are limited (in the extreme – amo, amas, amat) so I may have to butt out at some stage.


Nathan wrote:

We're assumed that Cerialis was too rash to build marching camps in his advance against an enemy in the field! If he did (and it was usual practice, after all), then the camp in question could have been his own fortification. Warned of an approaching enemy, he deployed his force in front of the camp, but the infantry was overwhelmed and only the cavalry managed to make it back inside the fortifications. If this is the case, the camp could have been anywhere along the road - close to Colchester is most likely.

I think that both Nathan and Renatus are spot on here. Of course it makes the most sense. Well done both of you.


Nathan wrote:

To be fair, that was only my suggestion I think. And the 5 miles per two days was just a low figure, I didn't mean that was their usual marching pace. They weren't an army, is the point - so didn't have a 'usual' marching pace!

Typically hordes of this size moved at around 5 - 10 miles per day rather than the 5 miles that you have indicated every two days. If it was just to point out that they would have been slower than the Roman Army (15 – 20 miles per day (25 miles if pushed) I can support that.

I think it would be a mistake to assume that the Brythons could not travel faster. War bands would have been able to travel much faster and we shouldn’t dismiss their mounted and chariot warriors. In earlier battles the Brythons were credited with thousands of chariots and there is no reason to think that this was not the case at this time either.

So parts of the Horde could have moved very quickly.

Renatus wrote:

Better still that we work from the Latin and make as literal a translation as possible. This minimizes the danger of our interpretations being influenced by any glosses or bias on the part of the translator.

In this case, the Latin reads as follows:

templum, in quo se miles conglobaverat, biduo obsessum expugnatumque. et victor Britannus Petilio Ceriali, legato legionis nonae, in subsidium adventati obvius, fudit legionem, et quod peditum interfecit: Cerialis cum equitibus evasit in castra et munimentis defensus est.

This translates literally as:

‘The temple, in which the soldier had gathered himself, [was] besieged for two days and taken by storm. And the victorious Briton, with Petilius Cerialis, legate of the Ninth Legion, pressing forward in relief, meeting [him] routed the legion and slew those who were infantry: Cerialis with the cavalry escaped into a camp and was protected by the ramparts.’

Regarding the Translation – totally agree but as I said earlier my understanding of Latin is limited and I only have the translations that are generally available.

I think that as Nathan says “the victorius Briton” could refer to the whole of the Brythons but the point is debateable.

Renatus wrote:

This is a mystery. I am sure that I have read one interpretation that suggested that he was pursued right back to his base fortress, which seems nonsense to me. Castra is plural, which implies a camp, rather than a fort. I am not sure of the nature of the sites that you mention. I have thought that Cerialis made it back to his last marching camp and that the rampart and ditch had not been slighted, so would provide some protection. It is possible that the Britons did not actually pursue him that far and that the idea that the rampart protected him is simply rhetoric. Alternatively, it is likely that any pursuing force would have been cavalry only and, if it did follow him as far as the camp, it may be that he actually outnumbered it at that point, so it did not press home an attack on the camp.

Good point – wish I had considered it!!! Well done to both you and Nathan!

Renatus wrote:

I was assuming that Boudica’s “other army”, when released from the necessity of defending the homeland, would proceed to London to join the main horde. What is your precise suggestion? That it travelled along the Icknield Way to Dunstable and then down Watling Street to St. Albans or, perhaps, that it branched off the Icknield Way direct to St. Albans, thereby cutting out Watling Street altogether? What was its objective? Specifically to attack Verulamium or was that merely incidental to some other purpose?

Who burned St. Albans? It could have been a local rising. It could have been the local tribe eliminating Roman influence within its territory before joining the revolt. It could have been a breakaway group from the main horde. There are several possibilities.

A number of people have suggested that St Albans was equally as an important target to the Iceni as Colchester or London. It was after all a municipium since around AD50 in effect Roman through and through as would have been the inhabitants. It would also have had wealth and food a great attraction and something Roman to be driven out.

There were a number of towns that were overtly Roman with Roman citizens in residence Colchester, London, St Albans and Silchester and all appear to have been burnt around this time.

I cannot see a reason why it is not feasible that the second army would not have marched down the Icknield Way to Dunstable and then to St Albans.

Where they went after that is debateable.

Renatus wrote:

I have never suggested that the horde travelled at a rate of five miles per two days; that was Nathan. I said that oxen travel at a rate of 2 m.p.h. and work for a maximum of five hours a day. That said, it is strange that Paulinus was not able to outstrip the rebels.

It is possible that he only just got out of London in time and that the Britons did not waste as much time as he hoped in plundering the town. Even so, he should still have been able to maintain a distance between them. I wonder if there is something that we are not being told.


I am not sure that we are interpreting this correctly (back to the original translation I expect). My interpretation is that the Brythons were continuing to pursue SP relentlessly. In other words they may not have been fast BUT they weren’t stopping and were obviously after more than loot. I don’t think that they were that close necessarily.

If the Brythons were travelling at 5 – 10 miles a day at this time, SP (as Nathan states) would have been able to control the “chase” from the front.

This is totally off the wall but could of SP feigned a complete withdrawal from the Province by taking the refugees? It would look like Rome was giving up all together in the face of the uprising? Or is that a bit too subtle?


Renatus wrote:

Goodness knows where you got this translation. The Latin reads:

Iam Suetonio quarta decima legio cum vexillariis vicesimanis et [e] proximis auxiliares, decem ferme milia armatorum, erant, cum omittere cunctationem et congredi acie parat.

A literal translation would be:

‘At this time with Suetonius were the Fourteenth Legion with the veterans of the Twentieth and auxiliaries from the nearest [forts], almost ten thousand troops, when he decided to abandon delay and engage in battle.’

Apart from the auxiliaries, who appear to be recent additions to the force and whose numbers we do not know, there is nothing to suggest that Paulinus had been significantly reinforced.


Again I am of the opinion that the Twentieth were not with SP in Anglesey – so I will pass on this.

Nathan wrote:

Ah, but only if Paulinus was retreating at a constant speed, and the Britons were pursuing constantly too. The rebels may have 'pressed upon him' (Dio) in a static position, or a succession of them, while he waitied for reinforcements. If I'm right about Paulinus using a 'Fabian' delay strategy, he would have needed to stay close to the rebel army, counting on his superior speed to pull back ahead of them if he needed to. This doesn't mean he was fleeing away from them the whole time though.

Here's my current hypothesis:

Stage 1: Paulinus leaves London with refugees and withdraws 19 miles to St Albans. He remains here for several days, waiting for reinforcement along Akeman street from the west. The Iceni are plundering London and the surrounding area.

Stage 2: The Iceni get their collective act together and move north against St Albans. Paulinus, realising that reinforcements aren't coming from the west and unable to hold St Albans, withdraws again 9 miles to Dunstable. He takes up a new position there and waits. He could still be reinforced along the Iknield Way, possibly by the remains of Cerialis' force.

Stage 3: After a few days, the Iceni finish plundering St Albans and once again move north. Paulinus recognises that if he doesn't hold the Chiltern ridge he'll be pushed back into the Midlands. With the rebels approaching from the south, he resolves to stop delaying, marches a mile south himself and takes up a position in the saddle north-east of Kensworth. The battle takes place there.


Your point that Paulinus controls the chase is well made and one that I can support.

I quite like Dunstable as a site (although not as defensible as Cunetio)

I always feel that the Watling Street scenario is made because it is a way to explain the destruction of St Albans however any destruction of St Albans does need some explaining.

(If we were looking at a scorched earth policy by SP this would also fit)

The use of Akeman Street to obtain re-inforcements from the Twentieth (based at Cirencester / Bath) works as well for me and possibly local auxiliaries from the forts on Watling Street.

I think that there was more chance of a second Iceni force coming down the Icknield Way and arriving in SPs rear rather than Cerealis and his force who was bottled up like a number of other forts in the area.

I have always wondered why a force was not sent to get Cerealis so either it wasn’t known where he was or he was guarded. The latter seems the obvious choice as I cannot see him staying put otherwise.

Of course if SP went West Cerealis would be on his own.

I have to say that one of the major points against going up Watling Street is the refugees. They simply would have wanted to run away from the war not by pass it.

So for me it still has to be a Westward journey with a “just out of reach” small army with its tail between its legs, loaded with civilians leaving the country – followed by an exulting host who were soon to be badly disillusioned.

A clever ploy to lead the Brythons to their deaths.

Kind Regards - Deryk
Deryk
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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 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
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Deryk - 11-02-2012, 11:55 PM

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