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  •  The Annals of Imperial Rome (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ojibwa, WB Reeves

    ... has the description of the murder of the druids and the Roman soldiers' fear of fighting women on the isle of Mona [modern-day Anglesey].

    Julius Agricola was the aide de campe of Paulinus Suetonius, and he related the story to his son-in-law, Tacitus.

    Tacitus, Annals, Book XIV, Chapters 29-37

    While Paulinus was doing that, the Boudiccan Rebellion began.  Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni [in what is today's Essex, or thereabouts] gathered together several Celtic tribes and led an army which destroyed three major cities, starting with Colchester, then on to London and St. Albans.  Archaeologists still find that burnt layer at digs in those locations.

    By the time Paulinus force-marched his armies back across Britain (the word England was not coined until after the Anglo-Saxon invasions, when one section of Britain became Angle-Land, which was shortened to England), the other towns had also been razed to the ground with virtually everyone in each location killed in retribution for the flogging of Boudicca and the raping of her two daughters.

    The location of the battle between Paulinus' troops and Boudicca's army (they outnumbered the Romans) is not known.  The description survives, and wherever it was, the old people and children were behind the fighting Celts on baggage wains on rise of land.  The Roman army began a pincer movement and with the baggage wains and people blocking a retreat, the Celts were slaughtered.  The Celts had numerical superiority, but they had no discipline; their fighting ways were never that of the disciplined Roman military forces.

    Whatever Boudicca's fate - suicide by poison, fell ill and died, wounded/killed and her body too badly disfigured to be identified - she disappeared with/after that battle.

    Caesar tried twice to invade Britain (55 & 54 BCE).  He disliked the Celts for sending reinforcements to help the Gauls he was trying to subdue (see The Conquest of Gaul aka Gallic Wars; I read it as a book with the former title).  Even more, Caesar loathed the druids for their influence over the Celts.  Paulinus destruction of the druids' stronghold on Mona accomplished what Caesar was unable to do.  Since the druids had none of their knowledge written down (they considered it a point of mental laziness if they couldn't remember their knowledge and pass it on), their knowledge died with them.  Between the Romans and the Catholic priests who wrote their impressions of the Celts and histories and mythologies, I'm afraid we have a distorted picture of the druids and their knowledge nowadays.

    If you like your history to be entertaining as well as knowledgeable, I recommend The Eagle and the Raven by Pauline Gedge.  She uses old Roman texts for info on Boudicca and the Celts and the Romans and follows them closely.  The book also delves into the other contemporary Celtic queen in Britain and also mentioned in the Roman sources: Cartimandua, Queen of the Brigantes.

    Or, read the histories by Tacitus, Caesar, and Dio first, then read Gedge's book.

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 06:20:02 PM PDT

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