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Battle of Watling Street

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  • Boudicca, queen of the Iceni (c.30 - c.62)
    Boudica or Boudicca, also known as Boadicea and known in Welsh as Buddug (d. AD 60 or 61) was queen of the British Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire. ...
  • Gaius Suetonius Paulinus de Pugio (deceased)
    Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, also spelled Paullinus, (fl. 1st century) was a Roman general best known as the commander who defeated the rebellion of Boudica. OF BRITAIN: Gaius Suetonius Paulinus (de pug...

Battle of Watling Street

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Date: AD 60 or 61

Location: Watling Street

The name given to an ancient trackway in England and Wales that was first used by the Britons mainly between the areas of modern Canterbury and St Albans using a natural ford near Westminster.

Result

Decisive Roman victory, end of Boudica's revolt, Roman rule secured

Belligerents

Roman Empire

  • Strength 10 000
  • Commanders and leaders
  • Casualties and losses 400
  • Captives

British

  • Strength 230 000
  • Commanders and leaders
  • Casualties and losses 80 000
  • Captives

Causes

Rome invaded south-eastern Britain in AD 43. Some kingdoms were defeated and occupied, whilst others were nominally independent as allies of the Roman empire.

Overview

The Battle of Watling Street took place in Roman-occupied Britain in AD 60 or 61 between an alliance of indigenous British peoples led by Boudica and a Roman army led by Gaius Suetonius Paulinus. The Romans were heavily outnumbered but decisively defeated the allied tribes, marking the end of resistance to Roman rule in the south of Britain.

Information is dependent on Roman sources for accounts of the battle. The exact location is not known, but is believed to have taken place between Londinium and Viroconium (Wroxeter in Shropshire), on the Roman Road now known as Watling Street.

Aftermath

Emperor Nero was apparently so shaken by the battle that he considered withdrawing from Britain altogether, [according to Suetonius], but with the decisive conclusion the occupation of Britain continued.

According to Tacitus Nero replaced the governor with Publius Petronius Turpilianus.

Boudicca's defeat ensured Roman rule in southern Britain, but northern Britain remained volatile. In AD 69 a Brigantes noble Venutius led another less well documented revolt.

Notable connections

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References, Sources and Further Reading

  • Christoph M. Bulst, "The Revolt of Queen Boudicca in A.D. 60", Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, Vol. 10, No. 4 (Oct., 1961), p. 508.
  • Scotland - The History of a Nation by Magnus Magnusson

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