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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
Quote:Tacitus states that he didn’t have enough troops when he was in London and only when he was reinforced did he decide to give battle.....but Dio of course states that “as he grew short of food and the barbarians pressed relentlessly upon him, he was compelled, contrary to his judgment, to engage them”

This seems like two opposing arguments
Not necessarily: Paulinus may have been able to reinforce the troops that he had in London but not to the extent that he might have wished. Finding himself short of food and with the enemy advancing remorselessly upon him (Dio) and realising that further reinforcements were unlikely to reach him in a reasonable length of time, he decided to put an end to delay and give battle (Tacitus).



Quote:All of this leads me to the same conclusion.
Which is?
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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That the site was close to St Albans..
I find daunting the prospect of getting '000'sof East Anglians back via rivers and valleys. Now, far from behaving like Bees, they would need to be Frogs. Webbed feet etc, crying 'Rivet! Rivet! (for the soles of their shoes?) :twisted: Sorry, just being facetious :twisted:
Davidus
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Quote:Tacitus states that... only when he was reinforced did he decide to give battle....

Just to be annoyingly accurate - Tacitus doesn't state that! ;-)

Suetonius had the fourteenth legion with the veterans of the twentieth, and auxiliaries from the neighbourhood, to the number of about ten thousand armed men, when he prepared to break off delay and fight a battle
(Annals, 14.34). That's all - no mention of reinforcements gained or awaited, or explanation for the 'delay'. As Michael has said, it's probable that he was waiting for more men, but not certain.


Quote:
Deryk post=343884 Wrote:This seems like two opposing arguments
Not necessarily.

There is a difference of interpretation though, I think. Paulinus comes off a lot better in the Tacitus version, for a start!

Has anyone read any theories about where Dio was getting his information from?* He could have just read Tacitus and embroidered it with fictional details, but some of the things he mentions (the 'three divisions' thing, and Paulinus running short of food) serve little dramatic purpose and seem to derive from some other source...

Either way, Dio's account at least leaves a shadow of doubt over Paulinus's conduct in the runup to the battle, and the reason for his 'delays' - was it strategy, or just uncertainty?

* EDIT - I notice that GW Townend in 1961 (Traces in Dio Cassius of Aufidius, Cluvius and Pliny, Hermes 89) suggests that Dio relied mainly on two authors, one racy and scurrilous (who he names as Cluvius Rufus) and the other a sober annalist (who he proposes was the Elder Pliny). Interestingly, Tacitus probably had access to the same sources, along with (so Syme reckons) the autobiography of Suetonius Paulinus himself... Hmm!
Nathan Ross
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Strategy, if he was faced with a single war party. This raises the question of was he playing' cat and mouse with B? Just keeping ahead of her drawing her further into dangerous, or hostile territory, knowing a battle site?
Uncertainty, if he was faced with 'a swarm of bees', not knowing how or where to respond.
Possibly there was not one single confrontation,T just commented upon the one which SP happened to be at.

RE: Tacitus and Cassius Dio.
Is there any known evidence, from the 'Annals' about how accurate T's accounts have been?
Are there any other instances where CD has known to have embroidered other Author's accounts?
E.g. If SP was short of food, how much shorter would B have been? Does this suggest that SP also needed B's supply chain, or that CD simply embroidered T account?
Davidus
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Quote:
Deryk post=343884 Wrote:Tacitus states that... only when he was reinforced did he decide to give battle....

Just to be annoyingly accurate - Tacitus doesn't state that! ;-)

Suetonius had the fourteenth legion with the veterans of the twentieth, and auxiliaries from the neighbourhood, to the number of about ten thousand armed men, when he prepared to break off delay and fight a battle
(Annals, 14.34). That's all - no mention of reinforcements gained or awaited, or explanation for the 'delay'. As Michael has said, it's probable that he was waiting for more men, but not certain.
This translation does not take account of the word with which Tacitus begins the passage, "iam". This means literally "at that (or this) time", which would seem to suggest that the situation had changed. Moreover, Tacitus goes on to refer to the auxiliaries "[e] proximis", 'from the nearest (forts)', which by definition would not have been with him in London. Therefore, although Tacitus does not say specifically that Paulinus had been reinforced, the implication is pretty clear.
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
Quote:"iam". This means literally "at that (or this) time", which would seem to suggest that the situation had changed... Therefore, although Tacitus does not say specifically that Paulinus had been reinforced, the implication is pretty clear.

Aha, very smart! However, I'm still not fully convinced... If you could make it mean 'By this time' then I might be - but 'at this/that time' could refer to the time that he pulled back from London... The timescale is not sufficiently exact to say more. In fact it's almost deliberately vague...

Similarly the 'nearest forts' could be those nearest London, just as easily as those nearest to some other undisclosed location... The explanation that Paulinus collected men from posts along Watling Street on his march south seems quite sufficient here.


Quote:Is there any known evidence, from the 'Annals' about how accurate T's accounts have been?... Are there any other instances where CD has known to have embroidered other Author's accounts?

Unfortunately not, I think. As none of the sources of these authors survive there's no way for us to check whether they changed anything or not.

I am struck by the idea that Tacitus was relying on an account by Suetonius Paulinus himself though. There are a couple of places in the narrative of the rebellion where we do seem to be getting the 'general's eye view' more than is usual in Roman history writing (T and Dio both supposedly used Corbulo's memoirs for their accounts of his campaigns too).

As an example, the bit in Annals 14.33, where Paulinus is in London: Uncertain whether he should choose it as a seat of war, as he looked round on his scanty force of soldiers... That does read like it was taken directly from the general's own account of the situation, just changed into third person. You can almost sense the shift of tone when Tacitus starts describing the huge numbers slain by the rebels, like he's switched to a different voice entirely...

Same with the description of the battle plan, actually: He chose a position approached by a narrow defile, closed in at the rear by a forest, having first ascertained that there was not a soldier of the enemy except in his front... Perhaps wishful thinking, but that certainly feels like the way a military man would explain his tactical planning to the reading public!
Nathan Ross
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Albeit only in Wikipedia, I have been looking up Tacitus and Cassius Dio. Although I do not want to stray from this topic, I am wondering:
If the extant copies were written up generations after the originals, is it semantic to be discussing 'in the front', 'iam' etc? I say this with respect. to you Guys as my Latin is now 50 years old!

In Wikipedia, 'Tacitus' refers to a third source for the B Revolt. I have never come across this before. Is it irrelevant?
Davidus
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Iam is one of those words that has a multiplicity of extended meanings. One of these is, indeed, 'by this time' but this is in the sense of 'already' which, in the context of this discussion, does not help us very much. However, I take it, along with proximis, as referring to the moment that Paulinus decided to give battle, not an earlier time when he was in London. As to the possible use of Paulinus' memoirs, we have to remember that Tacitus' most immediate source of information was probably his father-in-law Agricola, who had been on Paulinus' staff and was, therefore, close to his general's thinking.
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
I have spent the best part of this afternoon reading the first 12 pages of this blog. How sad is that? Confusedad:
It reminds me of a Tug O' War. First B gains the advantage, then P does. And the poor old 'Tommies' in the middle keep getting their feet wet Confusedhock: ! No wonder, on one occasion John1 went back to his trenches and Steve K seems to have drowned somewhere.
Doubtless, one day in the distant future, someone will re-emerge god-like, saying ''I told you so!''
Somewhere in all of this lies the answer. Or, there again, maybe not.
Who would want to be a Bookie who is brave enough to place odds on the outcome?
BTW, Do the pupils at Streetfield Middle School, Dunstable realise they maybe treading on the graves of their ancestors? Sick :lol:
Davidus
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David Scotti wrote:

Strategy, if he was faced with a single war party. This raises the question of was he playing' cat and mouse with B? Just keeping ahead of her drawing her further into dangerous, or hostile territory, knowing a battle site?

Uncertainty, if he was faced with 'a swarm of bees', not knowing how or where to respond....


I think that Nathan’s idea of the swarm of bees is, as I said before, very interesting......

It allows for the horde to be made up of different warriors throughout the campaign, so that perhaps some were at Colchester, some at Chelmsford, some at London and some at St Albans but not necessarily at all battles.

There would however have had to be a “core” that controlled the overall movement (Queen “B” perhaps :wink: ) – joking aside there seems to be some overall strategy – but perhaps this could be just ethnic cleansing of the Romans from their towns.

After all Tacitus indicates that the Roman Forts were bypassed so it would appear that the horde did not want to siege forts and weren't concerned to leave them in their rear.

I no longer think that the “cat and mouse” strategy really works – it would have been very difficult and fraught with risk especially with refugees in tow.

SP managed to wrest back the initiative from the Brythons after a number of setbacks and force them into a confrontation by locating at a strategic crossroads and pretending that he was trapped – sheer genius.

Kind Regards - Deryk
Deryk
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Quote:In Wikipedia, 'Tacitus' refers to a third source for the B Revolt. I have never come across this before. Is it irrelevant?
I have looked at the Wikipedia article on Tacitus and do not see any reference to sources for the Boudican revolt. What have I missed?
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
:oops: Sorry, It's under Cassius Dio. - Line 12ish. ''Historia Romana........The work is one of only three written Roman sources that document the Celtic Revolt (AD 60-61)in Britain that was lead by Boudicca''........
I know that CD himself relied on at least a couple of sources, but this does not seem to be what Wiki is saying.
I also know that Wiki is not totally authoritative. What do you make of it?
Davidus
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Quote::oops: Sorry, It's under Cassius Dio. - Line 12ish. ''Historia Romana........The work is one of only three written Roman sources that document the Celtic Revolt (AD 60-61)in Britain that was lead by Boudicca''........
Now I get it. Actually, there are four sources for the Boudican revolt: Dio, Tacitus' Annals and Agricola, and a very brief reference in Suetonius' life of Nero in which he says only that there was a disaster in Britain during which two important towns were sacked and a great number of citizens and allies butchered.
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
Swarm of bees. This seems to me typical of a multitude of loosely directed groups and individuals, all with personal aims, modus operandi and' Chinese Whispers' for orders, capable of being modified to suit local commanders own purposes. (Actually, not like bees at all, but the analogy is good for our purpose).
But the question then has to be asked how did 200,000 odd then manage to converge on one place at the same time?

Deryk has made an excellent point about S luring B into a trap, pretending he himself was trapped. This seems the stuff of legend. and would have suited S very well on his triumphant return to Rome (even without Boudica). This could apply equally to Tring and Dunstable. All other things being equal, Tring has the advantage that S would not have been retreating back up the same road he had previously come down (Napoleon), yet as accessible to his absent Legions as though he had.
Davidus
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Sorry if I am repeating a previous blog, but I have only got to P25 today.
You say 2 towns. Colchester and ?. T says a Civitas (Camolodunum) and a camp?
Londinium or Verulamium? Which one? And what of the other please?
Davidus
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