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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
Renatus Wrote:I thought that it might be worth accessing Haverfield’s 1914 letter to The Antiquary as this probably summarises his definitive view of the revolt. It is in Vol. 50 of the journal on pp. 439-440, under the title ‘The Battle between Boadicea and Suetonius’. Unfortunately, it is only available in snippet view in Google Books. However, I have found four snippets which probably cover most of the ground. The first is the beginning of the letter and the others, which join together, are the end of it, the last being followed by Haverfield’s name. There is a gap of uncertain length between the first and the second snippets and some of the wording is indistinct, so it may be worth getting a decent copy of it, once the libraries reopen, to clarify any uncertainties. My reading of what I have found is as follows:

‘In your September number, a reviewer of Messrs. Foord and Gordon’s [sic, the authors are Edward Foord and Gordon Home] England Invaded (London, 1913) discusses the Roman conquest of Britain, and credits me with the “assumption that Suetonius retired on Deva” before he fought with Boadicea.  . . . should like to say that I do not think that I have ever made the assumption in question, though others have. What I have said about the campaign of Suetonius is this in brief: The narrative of Tacitus shows clearly that: i. when the revolt of Boadicea broke out in East Anglia Suetonius was fighting in or near Anglesea with a force not precisely described, but certainly comprising the better part of the 20,000 men then stationed in or near Chester: ii. that he at once posted to the scene of the revolt, moving – very naturally – faster than the main body and reached London with practically no troops: and iii. that he then fell back on his main body, and fought the battle. So far Tacitus. The line of the Roman roads enables us to add that, coming from Anglesea, he must have marched along Watling Street, and his troops must have come up behind him along the same line. The fight must then have taken place somewhere along Watling Street, or near it. It is even possible that it was near Chester, though it is not likely. I prefer my own suggestion, that it was in the southern Midlands. It cannot possibly have been in Surrey, as your reviewer urges, because Suetonius cannot have gone there to meet the troops whom Tacitus says he did meet. Your reviewer does not seem to have grasped either what Tacitus says, or – what matters less – what I have said.’

It may be remembered that I partially reconstructed Francis Haverfield's 1914 letter to The Antiquary on the subject of the Boudican revolt but that there was a section missing.  I have now obtained a full copy of the letter, care of the Roman Society Library, and can supply the missing wording, although it does not add much to what we already have.  The missing section reads:

'The subject has not much to do with invasions of Britain, nor has it much to do with England Invaded, in which I am neither quoted nor named.  But I . . .'

I have also obtained a copy of the review to which Haverfield was responding.  The passage to which he took exception, especially the last sentence, reads as follows:

'Mr. Foord, who is largely responsible for the main part of the history, has suggested some fascinating solutions to old problems.  Most of his conclusions have the merit of being supported by the evidence of first-hand investigation of the places concerned.  The most important of these solutions is the identification of the site of the great battle between Boudicca and Suetonius.  Mr. Foord, in opposition to Professor Haverfield, would seek for it in the districts south of London, and he finally limits the area of search to the neighbourhood of Dorking and Box Hill, where there are sites which agree admirably with the somewhat scanty descriptions we possess.  Mr. Foord's case is completely convincing, and seems to be fully proved, as far as proof is possible; in any case, Professor Haverfield's assumption that Suetonius retired upon Deva is seen to be impossible.'
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 - 09-30-2020, 09:46 PM

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