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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
(11-29-2015, 12:40 PM)Renatus Wrote: It is inconceivable that Paulinus would have embarked upon a campaign taking him and the greater part of his army to the westernmost tip of the island, if he had been aware of a major rebellion brewing in the east.

Yes - we know he was not a reckless man. However, it's possible that Paulinus and his army were already based in the west, perhaps at Wroxeter, and had been since the previous year's campaigning. But he had begun his campaign before the rebllion gathered strength: Tacitus, Agricola - "No sooner had the governor departed on his expedition than the Britons of the province began to breathe freely..."


(11-29-2015, 12:40 PM)Renatus Wrote: News of the rebellion did not reach Paulinus until his operation in Anglesey was in its final stages and, indeed, he may actually have been on his way back to London...

Dio tells us that operations on Anglesey were already complete when news of the revolt reached him; however, I suspect that the Anglesey attack was intended as the first stage of a wider campaign of pacification in North Wales. Paulinus may not have had any intention of returning to London at that point. As it turned out, of course, he had to abandon his Wales campaign, and the region was not fully conquered until the arrival of Agricola 16 years later.



(11-29-2015, 12:40 PM)Renatus Wrote: Officials were aware of unrest but did not take it seriously and did not think it worth telling the governor.

The division of power between Paulinus and Catus is an interesting unknown. It does seem as if the procurator had unusual authority over the 'pacified' regions; Paulinus may have though he could leave the administration of the Iceni to Catus. But doubtless the procurator would have informed him as soon as news of a large scale hostile force reached him.



(11-29-2015, 12:40 PM)Renatus Wrote: Paulinus knew of unrest amongst the Iceni but thought that it was confined to that tribe and that Cerialis and the Ninth Legion could deal with any trouble that might arise.

This seems plausible. Cerialis was presumably intended to deal with any problems with either the Iceni or the Brigantes, and Paulinus (perhaps unaware of the actions of his procurator?) may have thought that his force would be sufficient to do so.



(11-29-2015, 12:40 PM)Renatus Wrote: The outrage against the Iceni occurred after Paulinus had set off on campaign... open revolt did not break out until the campaigning season was well advanced.


As I mentioned above, the revolt must have started around the time of spring planting, and the major battles were completed before the autumn, when Paulinus received reinforcements from the Rhine and sent his army into winter quarters. Bearing in mind the transit times for messages to and from Rome and the movement of reinforcements, I think we can conclude that the campaign happened in spring to mid summer, and Paulinus therefore commenced his operations against Mona very early.

I would revise my (much) earlier estimate of the timeline of the uprising as follows:


c.March 61 - assault on Boudica and her daughters. This is the spark for the rebellion.

Mid April - Paulinus marches his army out of winter quarters and into North Wales. Iceni outrage spreads.

Early May - Iceni muster for revolt. Paulinus conducts operations against Mona. Procurator alerted to trouble among Iceni.

c.May 12th - Paulinus 'brings Mona to terms'. Iceni unite with Trinovantes and move against Colchester (5 days from the district of Thetford down to Colchester at a steady pace). Catus sends 200 men to aid defence.

c.May 14th - Paulinus hears of impending revolt and gets his troops on the road (11-12 days to London at 20 miles a day). Cerialis moves south to support Colchester.

c.May 17th - Iceni attack Colchester.

c.May 19th - Colchester falls to the rebels.

c. May 20th - Cerialis defeated near Colchester. Paulinus still marching south.

c. May 26th - Paulinus reaches London. Rebel force moving on the city. Paulinus retreats to St Albans.

Late May - after taking London and ravaging the Thames valley up to Staines, the rebels turn north. Paulinus pulls back to either Dunstable or Tring.

Early June - rebels meet Paulinus in battle and are defeated.


The compressed period of time available for the campaign makes it even less likely that either Paulinus or the rebels conducted any long-distance manoeuvres after leaving the vicinity of London.

*EDIT - another possibility: Paulinus may have sent his request for reinforcements after he heard of the defeat of Cerialis but before the final battle, perhaps while he was in London pondering his options. This might extend the time available for the 'delay and manoeuvre' stage of the campaign and set back the final confrontation. But it would not alter the timing of the revolt's beginning or the advances on London by much.
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 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 Nathan Ross - 11-29-2015, 01:46 PM

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