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Trưng Sisters

Contributed by Southpaw Ben

Born in modern day Vietnam, this pair of sisters were born to the prefect of Me Linh, which gave them a good understanding of the martial arts. As Chinese rule of Vietnam became increasingly oppressive, the husband of one of the Trung Sisters led a revolt against the Chinese, which resulted in his execution. In 40, the sisters were able to sucessfully repel a small Chinese unit from their village. They then assembled a large, mostly female, army which they use to take almost 65 citadels from the Chinese and liberated most of modern day Vietnam, making themselves the ruling queens. However, this rule was short lived, as this year (43 AD) the Chinese sent a huge army under an experienced general, who was able to defeat the sisters in a battle. There are multiple stories about how the sisters died including that they vanished into the sky, committed suicide, or died fighting. One account suggests that the female army of the sisters was defeated when the Chinese troops showed up to battle naked, causing the female army to disperse in embarrassment.

My Take by Southpaw Ben
As these sisters were the first successful resistance agains the Chinese after 247 years of being conquered, the Trung Sisters are seen as heroes even to this day, with many Vietnamese celebrating a holiday in February to commemerate their deaths, and many streets and schools are named after them, and temples dedicated to them. Some historians use this story to suggest that before Chinese control over Vietnam, the Vietnamese culture was a matriarchal one, and that having women rulers was not something seen as odd. I find it interesting how these sisters "freed" the country, only to make themselves the monarchs of it, and yet are seen as heros and symbols of freedom, because they died fighting for their country.

Invasion of Britain, This Time for Real

Contributed by David Verne

Claudius has been busy with reforming the legal system and stabilizing the Empire after Caligula's disastrous reign. The problem is that he still doesn't have a great deal of respect from the Senate, and the solution he and his advisers come up with is an invasion of Britain. A successful invasion of Britain would give him the credibility that came with a military victory and would be an achievement that not even the legendary Julius Caesar could accomplish. Claudius got the excuse he needed when a tribe friendly to Rome was attacked. Four legions, the 2nd Augusta, the 9th Hispana, the 14th Gemina, and the 20th Valeria Victrix, along with numerous auxiliaries a total of 40,000 soldiers, assembled in northern Gaul, under the command of Aulus Plautius, a distinguished senator. By the time spring arrived, the massive logistics efforts needed for 40,000 men, several thousand cavalry, and hundreds of ships were finally in place, but the invasion failed to start. Rumors began to spread among the men that nightmarish terrors and monsters waited for them in Britain, which for the Romans was a place beyond the known world. The legions refused to move, so Claudius sent his chief adviser, the freedman Narcissus, to convince the soldiers to begin the campaign. He began a speech, but failed. Plautius then stepped up and managed to convince the legions to continue with the invasion, after a delay of several weeks. The Britons are made up of many tribes, but the main leader a chief called Caratacus. The legions defeat the Britions in several pitched battles and force the surrender of most of the tribes. Plautius invited Claudius to come to Britain to share in the glory of the victory, and when Claudius arrived, he accepted the surrender of 11 chiefs. Caratacus will escape to continue resistance, but by the end of the year the Romans are in complete control over Southeast Britain. [1]

My Take by David Verne
A delay in military plans is almost always a bad thing, but it ended up helping the Romans a great deal. The Britons were warned the year before by friendly traders that the Romans were planning an invasion, and they knew that the Romans always began their military campaigns in the spring. The chiefs raised their levies and gathered on the southern coast of Britain to meet the Romans at the beaches. As the weeks dragged on, the tribesmen wanted to return home to their farms and families, and the chiefs disbanded their armies, thinking that it was just a repeat of Caligula's invasion. When the legions invaded, they caught the southernmost tribes unprepared for war and were able to establish a foothold. The future emperor Vespasian commanded the 2nd Augusta during the invasion and will prove himself to be an excellent military commander.

See Also


  1. Dando-Collins, Stephen (2010). Legions of Rome. St. Martin's Press. 

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