Voadicia

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Sed Voadicia cum primis animos incedebat, questa iniurias quas a Romanis accepisset, et quia ipsa ante alios acerrimo erat in hostes odio, igitur ea duce (non enim in imperiis sexum discernebant) factum est ut magna populi pars, commotis etiam ad alienationem officii Trinobantibus, repente a Romanis defecerit, armaque in suos praecipitanter sumpserit. primo itaque insulanorum motu veterani perculsi templum quoddam occuparunt, ubi omnes ad unum interfecti sunt. inde legio nova, quae Peti Cerealis legati ductu iis subsidio venerat, fusa caesaque est. Catus Decianus Britanniae procurator media trepidatione delapsus in Galliam transiit. pervagatus inde est furor Britannorum usque Verulamium municipium per Romanorum civium ac sociorum capita, occisaque dicuntur ex multitudine imbelli ad septuaginta hominum milia. nec multo post Paulinus adfuit Londinumque perrexit, ambiguus an illam sedem bello deligeret. qui tamen inde degressus locum coepit arctis faucibus, et a tergo silva clausum ita ut sine insidiarum metu esset, certo sciens non posse nisi a fronte invadi, qui secum circiter armatorum milia decem habebat, quibus fretus cum multitudine hostium immensa conflixit. Britanni longe maiore bellatorum numero praestabant, qui idcirco tam certa spe victoriae pugnam pugnare coeperunt ut mulieres curribus stantes sint spectaculo admotae. certatum est loco angusto, et ob id Romanorum paucitati perutili, fuitque pugna ab initio atrox. postremo Britanni, qui sese proeliando impediebant, propter loci angustiam impetum hostium minime sustinentes fusi, ac multa caede passim disiecti sunt. triginta fere Britannorum milia interfecta sunt. Voadicia dux belli ne in hostium potestate venirent vitam veneno sibi ademit.
(Polydore Vergil, Angl. Hist. 2.6)

But Boadicia in particular set their minds ablaze, complaining of the injuries she had received at the Romans’ hands, and because she surpassed everyone else in her hated of the enemy, therefore under generalship (forin choosing leaders they do not discriminate between the sexes) it came about that a great part of the people — even the Trinobantes were stirred to mutiny — suddenly revolted against the Romans and hastily snatched up arms against them. And so at their first uprising the amazed veterans occupied a certain temple, where they were cut down to a man. Then the Ninth Legion, which had come to their rescue under the command of Petus Cerealis, was routed and slaughtered. Amidst this panic, Catus Decianus, the procurator of Britain, fled to Gaul. Then the Britons’ fury ranged as far as the municipality of Verulamium, running through the persons of the Romans and their allies, and up to 70,000 souls are said to have been massacred out of that helpless multitude. Not long thereafter Paulinus was at hand and marched towards London, unsure whether he should choose it as his seat for the war. Then, abandoning it, he selected a place protected by narrow passes, assured he was free from frontal assault. He had with him about 10,000 soldiers, and, relying on them, joined battle with an immense horde of enemies. The Britons were far greater in number, and hence were so sure of victory that they began to fight the battle in such a way that women standing in chariots were driven up to view the spectacle. They fought in a narrow space, useful for the Romans in their small numbers, and it was a savage battle from the beginning. Finally the Britons, who obstructed each other as they fought, could not withstand the Roman assault because of the restricted space, and were scattered with much loss of life. About 30,000 Britons were killed. Their commander Boadicia killed herself by poison lest she fall into enemy hands. (tr. Dana F. Sutton)

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