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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
(11-27-2015, 10:16 PM)Theoderic Wrote: The term “flew to arms” troubles me. What is the real meaning. Is it that they picked up their weapons immediately and went on the attack or was it a more measured approach?

I take the view that as Prasutugus died in AD59 and the revolt did not happen until the summer of AD60, it took a few months at least to arm themselves and to form alliances with the Trinovantes and others, so not just the Trinovantes and the Iceni were involved in the original uprising.

The Latin has 'rapiunt arma '.  Rapio has various meanings but the ones relevant to this passage would seem to be 'seize' or 'snatch up'.  Generally, it has implications of speed and violence.  'Flew to arms' (Loeb translation) comes close but has for me the added connotation of thoughtless rapidity, which may be not be in the Latin.  There is probably an element of rhetoric in this but I think that we may take the whole passage to imply that the Iceni were so outraged that they immediately resolved upon military action, pausing only to gather arms and to enlist the aid of the Trinovantes and, possibly, other like-minded tribes.

The date of Prasutagus' death is not really relevant; it is the flogging of Boudica and the raping of her daughters that sparked the revolt.  When that occurred we do not know precisely but the implication is that it was after Paulinus had  embarked upon his campaign against Anglesey.  The onset of the revolt need not have been very long afterwards.  The Trinovantes were already disaffected and probably needed little encouragement to join in.  The other tribes, even those that were not the natural allies of the Iceni, were probably so appalled at the occurrence and fearful of what might happen to them in the future that they were prepared to set aside tribal rivalries and join in as well.  After all, if the family of a client king, presumably perceived to be pro-Roman, could be treated in such a manner, who was safe?  Boudica may well have begun her revolt with only the Trinovantes onside, relying on this reaction and the snowball effect to bring the others in.    

(11-27-2015, 10:16 PM)Theoderic Wrote: My other concern about the whole tribe being on the road for any length of time, let alone a year, is that they would have destroyed the lands they were travelling through.

Often wars were averted and peoples would surrender just on the threat of invasion because of the devastation caused to food stocks just by an army marching through its territories.

If they were travelling through the territories of tribes sympathetic to the Romans, I doubt whether this caused the rebels any concern at all.  In the latter case, they are likely to have demanded supplies as a token of loyalty.

(11-27-2015, 10:16 PM)Theoderic Wrote: For the reasons that I have outlined above I do not think that the Iceni left their homeland in a mass migration. They were fighting in the first place to keep their way of life and their lands from being subsumed into the Roman Province, so why would they desert it?

I am not, of course, suggesting that they abandoned their homelands for all time.  However, Tacitus tells us that, in effect, in their outrage warfare took precedence over husbandry and, frankly, we cannot just reject him because we would have preferred that he had said something else.  If their object was to drive the Romans from the province, this was no mean undertaking.  The Romans were not going to turn tail and flee because of the loss of one town or even the destruction of half a legion.  This was going to require the participation of every able-bodied man and was likely to take some time.  What, then, were the alternatives for the Iceni?  To leave their families behind to starve because they had not planted crops?  To leave them to fall victim to Roman retaliation, if (contrary to what I have said) that did occur?  To leave them at the mercy of their traditional enemies, who might take advantage of the absence of the fighting men to raid their territory, or to fall into the hands of marauding bands of brigands, who owed allegiance to no-one?  The answer, I suggest, was to take them with them, to support them and to give whatever assistance they could during the campaign, until they were all able to return to their homes victorious.
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 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
RE: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand. - by Renatus - 11-28-2015, 05:41 PM

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