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Britain Explodes

Contributed by David Verne

(I'm sorry about the length. Sometimes so much happens in a small amount of time that it's impossible to condense it.~David Verne)

Prasutagus, the king of the Iceni tribe, died last year and left his territory jointly to Rome, and his wife, Boudica, and his two daughters. This was supposed to keep his family in power as a client kingdom of Rome. However, Catus Decianus, the procurator or financial minister of the province, had other ideas. He announced that Rome didn't recognize the claims of women and annexed their territory. The Britons found this odd and saw it as perfectly natural for Boudica to rule as queen after her husband's death, so she continued paying the standard tribute and ruling as if nothing had happened. Decianus sent several soldiers and slaves to Boudica's village, and they ransacked the village, flogged Boudica, and raped her daughters. Decianus believed that the issue was settled, little realizing he had just lit the fuse to a massive powder keg.

Boudica met in secret with other tribes, and they agreed to a rebellion, electing Boudica as their war queen. The governor, Suetonius, was campaigning in Wales, when news reached him of the revolt. Camulodunum was the first city to be attacked, and after two days the tribesmen burnt the city to the ground. The 9th Hispana was marching to relieve the city, but was too late and was massacred with only the commander and some cavalry escaping. Suetonius reached Londinium and evacuated the city before Boudica could reach it. She burned Londinium and three other towns with a reported 70,000 to 80,000 civilians being killed. Suetonius managed to gather 10,000 legionaries from four legions and chose a place where a road now known as Watling Street passed through a narrow pass. The rebels arrived with an estimated 100,000 tribesmen, and Boudica gave a rousing speech saying that this was to be the Romans last moment in Britain and this battle would determine whether they would be free or slaves. Even though the Romans were outnumbered 10 to 1, almost no one could fight them in open battle, and after an initial charge, the rebels broke and fled. When tribal armies moved, they brought all their families with them, these families were stationed on a hill behind the battlefield to watch the tribal victory. When the rebels fled, they got caught up in the camp, and the Romans were able to kill many during the rout. The reported casualties were 80,000 Britons and 400 Romans. Boudica drank poison to avoid capture, and the revolt was over. [1] [2] [3]

My Take by David Verne
This will be that last revolt in Southern Britan, and it was so fierce that Nero considered abandoning the island, until reports came that the revolt was put down. The tribes biggest disadvantage was their army size because they didn't have the logistics systems in place to support a large army. Their tactics were also lacking. The only tactic that barbarians used was a fierce charge, and if you could hold against that charge, like the Romans could, they would begin to retreat and flee the battlefield.

See Also


  1. Tacitus, Cornelius. The Annals. 
  2. Dando-Collins, Stephen (2010). Legions of Rome. St. Martin's Press. 
  3. Duncan, Mike (August 16, 2009). Burn it to the Ground.

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