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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
(09-10-2016, 03:46 PM)Theoderic Wrote: why no defences at all? 

According the Tacitus, the 'secret accomplices' of the rebels had persuaded the citizens it was not necessary. Although, like most tales of 'fifth columnists', this could have been an excuse for the citizens' lack of organisation and failure to act in time!


(09-10-2016, 03:46 PM)Theoderic Wrote: hit and run tactics and ambushes is how the Brythons were successful in fighting the Romans over the previous 18 years

Not that successful - the Romans had managed to completely conquer most of Britain by this point.

Caesar's invasion force was largely successful in open battle, and brought the Britons to surrender - it was his own poor planning that led to his retreat (although we only have Caesar's own account, of course...). The Romans beat the Britons at the Medway and the Thames, and defeated Caratacus in pitched battle in c.51. The previous Iceni revolt, in 47, had been defeated with the storming of one fort.

The Caledonians and others in the north seem to have given the Romans more trouble, but still mustered for open battle at Mons Graupius, and were duly defeated.

Insurgency and ambushes could have been successful against a scattered occupying power, but not against an army in the field - which could be why Boudica attempted to defeat Paulinus by weight of numbers.


(09-10-2016, 03:46 PM)Theoderic Wrote: they would not have to travel together but to agree to muster at a particular place and particular time.

Perhaps - they could have slowly gathered around Colchester until they had the numbers to attack. But we know very little about how the rebels operated or fought at this time. By the time they moved against London, they must have been in some kind of coherent body - otherwise Decianus Catus would not have fled and Paulinus would not have thought of fighting his battle there. By the final confrontation they were certainly in one body.

A strategy of scattering and then regrouping at particular targets would have been hard to organise, especially with a diverse force under uncertain leadership (Boudica was not even a reigning monarch, and had no power over the Trinovantes and others).

Trying to get various different groups to make a coordinated muster after splitting up would be hazardous - if only a few failed to turn up, the rebellion would fall apart. Far better, if possible, to keep them all together for as long as possible.


(09-10-2016, 03:46 PM)Theoderic Wrote: Colonial Powers invading Afghanistan

A tempting analogy - but we have to remember that, following a few clashes during the initial invasion, and Boudica's revolt nearly twenty years later, most of southern Britain seem to have remained entirely peaceful under Roman rule for over 400 years. This does not suggest an intractable and indomitable warrior people, and was very different to the Afghan experience.


(09-10-2016, 03:46 PM)Theoderic Wrote: this was a well organised and disciplined army... it would be surprising if even Cerealis lined up against the full Brythonic Army in full battle array......

What leads you to think that Boudica's rebels were organised or disciplined? We have no evidence either way. As you say, the fact that Cerialis led such a small force against the rebels* around Colchester suggests that he didn't rate their capabilities that highly, or underestimated their numbers - he was rash, but not suicidal.

While the Britons may have had a nucleus of trained warriors (although they had apparently been disarmed after the 47 revolt), I would think that most of their vast army would probably have been untrained farmers and other tribesmen armed with improvised weapons.

*Edit - 2000 men was only the number of legionaries needed to replace the losses in the 9th legion. Tacitus says that the rebels 'destroyed his infantry' (peditum interfecit); a routed force will commonly lose around 37% of its number. But even if the 9th detachment lost 4 out of every 5 men, the original force could have numbered 5000 infantry (50/50 auxiliary/legionary), and probably at least 500 cavalry. The loss or dispersal of such a force would have been a major blow to Paulinus's plans.


(09-10-2016, 03:46 PM)Theoderic Wrote: surely Cerelias would have informed SP that the situation was worse than he thought and that he was continuing on towards Colchester.

He surely would have done. But little time would have elapsed between Paulinus learning of what Cerialis had done and news of his defeat, so it would not affect his planning from that point on.


(09-10-2016, 03:46 PM)Theoderic Wrote: one of SP's major objectives would have been to secure Verulamium as this was a Roman Colony (London was not) and there were Roman citizens there who had to be protected.

Verulamium was a municipium, not a colonia - the inhabitants were allied Britons, and only the most senior men had citizenship. London, on the other hand, "though not distinguished by the title of colony, was none the less a busy centre, chiefly through its crowd of merchants and stores" (Annals 14.33) - most of these merchants would have been Roman citizens, so it was the more important place to defend.



(09-10-2016, 03:46 PM)Theoderic Wrote: this answers your need for SP to go to London but not necessarily the Brythons.

The Britons needed grain, and London had a lot of it. If they took London they could cut Paulinus's main communication route with the south coast, and revenge themselves on Decianus Catus. It was a clear objective for them, I would say.

Again, unless London was threatened by a very large hostile rebel force, Catus would not have fled from the place, Paulinus would not have thought of fighting his battle there, and he would not then have evacuated it.
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 - 09-10-2016, 06:44 PM

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