Jump to content
UNRV Ancient Roman Empire Forums

Chronology of the Iceni revolt of 60-61ad?

Recommended Posts

Someone from my forum posted about this recently. The contemporary sources are relatively scant regarding the entire Boudican revolt of 60-61ad, but a possible timeline of the second Iceni revolt of 60-61ad could be;-


- Thetford 60ad, where Boudicca launched her carefully-planned campaign, having bided her time- despite her rage at her flogging/daughter's rapes- and stealthy gathering of warriors and weapons in secret from beneath Roman eyes.

- Two days march, in a seething mass of Iceni-Trinovantian warriors, to cover the 40m and reach Camulodunum (Colchester)

- One, maybe two more days to ravage and sack the vulnerable city. Claudius

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

But, can we ever solve the variable unknown factors?


Were other British regions also in unrest, and other tribes in Britain also in revolt?

Which Legions were involved in suppressing Boudica's revolt? Apparently only the XIVth and XXth, as the IXth from Lincoln was badly mauled, and the IInd failed to meet Paulinus from exeter?


Did Paulinus lure Boudica's vast hoarde North-West from London, away from her homeland, by a scorched earth policy or ravaging her allies' lands?


Man, that's a lot of questions. I recently reread Tacitus' Annals (the new Woodward translation) but I think even then and even here on UNRV someone would have to take a bit of time to review the sources on that one (and they probably are).


Not sure if the other tribes were all in revolt but Suetonius did march from Mona/Anglesey through what Tacitus called a hostile (hostes-Latin, Italian--ostile) population. Boudicca had several tribes under her leadership at Watling Street and Suetonius' victory is said to have put an end to uprisings so I'd say the indication is that if there were any other hot-spots they weren't that big.


Boudica didn't need to be lured by anything but the presence of his army. They wanted to get rid of the Romans--according to Dio (not as good a source as T) they were almost in a frenzy about it--and as long as that army is there Romans aren't leaving.


The IInd's Praefectus Castorum committed suicide (he's the one who ignored the calls for help) apparently it's said it was because he deprived his soldiers of a part in the victory, or that's the story. I wouldn't be surprised if it was due to shame as much as anything else, those guys were usually life-long veterans who climbed up the ranks.


Cerealis was somehow related to Vespasian. One of our posters--Maty--has written a biography of him, he's probably the guy you'd want to talk to. Rumor is he also enjoyed pouring milk over his breakfast hence...

Edited by Virgil61

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Virgil,


You're probably right, but there's so much about this era that seems to be missing, or propagandised by the Romans?


The IInd could possibly have been involved in quashing a revolt in that region, or simply that as Posthumus' legate was away (serving on Paulinus' staff?) he may have heard about the fate of the IXth and, with only part of a legion, stayed put?


I think that Cerialis was Vespasian's brother in-law, married to Flavia (older sister of Vespasian)?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

But, can we ever solve the variable unknown factors?



Given the paucity of 'written' evidence for the period the short answer is probably not with any great degree of certainty.


Archaeologically we can look at periods of extensive burning and destruction at sites like Colchester, St Albans, London and now possibly Silchester and link them to the Bouddican revolty period but this is not a guarantee that we have it correct. Carbon dating usually has a window of several years during which events may have occured with varyiong degrees fo certainty. On this basis for example with London given the usual mix of key-hole and slightly more extensive excavations which are possible there in some cases evidence of extensive burnign and destruction could either be the result of the revolt or instead simply another 'Pudding Lane' creating an earlier 'Great Fire of Londinium'.


Searches for literary or epigraphic evidence may eventually turn up a few more scraps of evidence but given the usual state of incomplete preservation of writing tablets, even at Vindolanda, and/ or the broken and incomplete nature of inscribed stones in Britain I don't hold out much hope for this avenue of research. :(

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Map of the Roman Empire