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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
(09-07-2016, 10:09 AM)Theoderic Wrote: The rebels were only 70 miles away from London yet SP arrived there before them.

This is the conundrum, originally identified I think by Professor Haverfield c.1913, that led to the development of the 'cavalry dash' theory.

Colchester is 50 miles from London, not 70, but if we dispense with the 'cavalry dash' (which I believe we must) then Paulinus did indeed reach London first. This necessarily supposes that the rebels were either moving very slowly, or had paused somewhere in their advance.

Having Paulinus arrive at London after 10-14 days on the road is not at all unlikely, if we assume that he had a certain amount of prior warning of the rebellion. This in turn is not unlikely, as we know that the citizens of Colchester had already warned Decianus Catus, who would surely have warned Paulinus. It is only Tacitus's dramatic presentation of events that makes it appear that the rebellion happened suddenly; in fact, assembling and moving a vast tribal host would have taken time, and would have been impossible to do in secret.

If Paulinus was already moving south with his army by the time the rebels attacked Colchester, much of the confusion in the chronology disappears, I think.



(09-07-2016, 10:09 AM)Theoderic Wrote: there is no mention of children or families

As we discussed before, I think it unlikely that the rebels would have brought their wives but left their children at home! 'Wives', in the Tacitus account, is a metonym for 'families'.


(09-07-2016, 10:09 AM)Theoderic Wrote: the returning army overwhelmed Cerialis which would indicate that either the sacking was shorter than estimated or that the 9th was ambushed by another set of forces.

Not necessarily. Cerialis was advancing to relieve the siege, so it was obviously still in progress when he set off and he could have reached the city in a matter of days. He would have arrived a day or two after it fell, at most. The rebels who had taken the city, realising that a Roman force was approaching, mustered to oppose him and then defeated him.


(09-07-2016, 10:09 AM)Theoderic Wrote: The assumption is that this was not an efficient rebel army and therefore was slow travelling is this likely.

Very likely, if the numbers are anything like those that the sources suggest. Such a massive force would strip the land bare in all directions, and spend much of their time foraging for food, animal feed and fuel - 150,000 men use up 65-70 tons of firewood a day, apparently. Even a disciplined army of that size with an established supply train and logistics corps would struggle to make 10 miles a day. Estimating 8 miles a day or less for the Britons is reasonable, I'd say, even allowing for plundering on the way.


(09-07-2016, 10:09 AM)Theoderic Wrote: the defeat of Colchester was based on surprise

Not really - the citizens had prior warning of the attack and sent a request to Catus, who sent 200 men as reinforcements (and almost certainly informed Paulinus). The defeat was perhaps due to bad defensive planning, expectation of relief, confusion, or just sheer Roman hubris!


(09-07-2016, 10:09 AM)Theoderic Wrote: SP retreats from London...and therefore heads West to regroup and fight in another season

Why west? If he wanted to 'regroup' he would head north - his main army was in that direction!


(09-07-2016, 10:09 AM)Theoderic Wrote: If the Brythonic army was slower than the Roman army he could have outrun them

They certainly would have been slower, and Paulinus could have run away if he wanted to - but his job was to defeat the rebels, by confrontation or by guile. His movements were intended to outflank and trap the rebels, not escape them.
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 - 09-07-2016, 11:40 AM

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