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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
Another note on the origins of the 'cavalry dash' to London by Suetonius [Paullinus].

A colleague has brought to my attention a paper by Overbeck ...

Tacitus and Dio on Boudicca's Rebellion
John C. Overbeck
The American Journal of Philology
Vol. 90, No. 2 (Apr., 1969), pp. 129-145 (17 pages)
Published By: The Johns Hopkins University Press
https://doi.org/10.2307/293422
https://www.jstor.org/stable/293422

https://www.jstor.org/stable/293422?refr...4b9d&seq=1

Jstor link

In it Overbeck refers to the words of Theodor Mommsen, the famous classicist, as they relate to Tacitus' account of the Boudica uprising and the question of whether Suetonius conducted a 'cavalry dash', or his whole army was in London.

Mommsen's work is the 'The Provinces of the Roman Empire', 1886 available via Project Gutenberg ...

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/48966/48...#CHAPTER_V

Gutenberg link


Mommsen's text is in Footnote 106 ...

"A worse narrative than that of Tacitus concerning this war, Ann. xiv. 31–39, is hardly to be found even in this most unmilitary of all authors. We are not told where the troops were stationed, and where the battles were fought; but we get, instead, signs and wonders enough and empty words only too many. The important facts, which are mentioned in the life of Agricola, 31, are wanting in the main narrative, especially the storming of the camp. That Paullinus coming from Mona should think not of saving the Romans in the south–east, but of uniting his troops, is intelligible; but not why, if he wished to sacrifice Londinium, he should march thither on that account. If he really went thither, he can only have appeared there with a personal escort, without the corps which he had with him in Mona — which indeed has no meaning. The bulk of the Roman troops, as well those brought back from Mona as those still in existence elsewhere, can, after the extirpation of the 9th legion, only have been stationed on the line Deva—Viroconium—Isca; Paullinus fought the battle with the two legions stationed in the first two of these camps, the 14th and the (incomplete) 20th. That Paullinus fought because he was obliged to fight, is stated by Dio, lxii. 1–12, and although his narrative cannot be otherwise used to correct that of Tacitus, this much seems required by the very state of the case."

So, in 1886, that is prior to the work of Prof. Haverfield, Mommsen describes and ridicules what we call the 'cavarly dash' to London. Mommsen then seems to ignore Tacitus' account of Suetonius being in London and, instead, argues that the Roman army was on the line 'Deva—Viroconium—Isca' [by Isca he might mean either Exeter or Caerleon]. He does not say the battle was fought on that line.

I'm not sure what Mommsen is implying with regard to whether, or not, he thinks the whole army was in London; he just doesn't say! But he is clear that the 'cavalry dash' has "has no meaning".

I cannot decide if Mommsen thought that Tacitus' was wrong in stating that Suetonius was in London - he just seem to ignore the passage as Overbeck points out.

Anyway, I think this pushes the date for the 'cavalry dash' back a little further - I've not checked all the previous thread pages. Are there any earlier offers on the origins of the the 'cavalry dash'?

Regards, Steve Kaye
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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 Steve Kaye - 01-10-2021, 12:16 PM

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