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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



10588
Tacitus, Annals, 14.37


Ac primum legio gradu immota et angustias loci pro munimento retinens, postquam in propius suggressos hostis certo iactu tela exhauserat, velut cuneo erupit. idem auxiliarium impetus; et eques protentis hastis perfringit quod obvium et validum erat. ceteri terga praebuere, difficili effugio, quia circumiecta vehicula saepserant abitus. et miles ne mulierum quidem neci temperabat, confixaque telis etiam iumenta corporum cumulum auxerant. clara et antiquis victoriis par ea die laus parta: quippe sunt qui paulo minus quam octoginta milia Britannorum cecidisse tradant, militum quadringentis ferme interfectis nec multo amplius vulneratis. Boudicca vitam veneno finivit. et Poenius Postumus, praefectus castrorum secundae legionis, cognitis quartadecimanorum vicesimanorumque prosperis rebus, quia pari gloria legionem suam fraudaverat abnue- ratque contra ritum militiae iussa ducis, se ipse gladio transegit. At first, the legionaries stood motionless, keeping to the defile as a natural protection: then, when the closer advance of the enemy had enabled them to exhaust their missiles with certitude of aim, they dashed forward in a wedge-like formation. The auxiliaries charged in the same style; and the cavalry, with lances extended, broke a way through any parties of resolute men whom they encountered. The remainder took to flight, although escape was difficult, as the cordon of waggons had blocked the outlets. The troops gave no quarter even to the women: the baggage animals themselves had been speared and added to the pile of bodies. The glory won in the course of the day was remarkable, and equal to that of our older victories: for, by some accounts, little less than eighty thousand Britons fell, at a cost of some four hundred Romans killed and a not much greater number of wounded. Boudicca ended her days by poison; while Poenius Postumus, camp-prefect of the second legion, informed of the exploits of the men of the fourteenth and twentieth, and conscious that he had cheated his own corps of a share in the honours and had violated the rules of the service by ignoring the orders of his commander, ran his sword through his body. <


Ac primum legio gradu immota et angustias loci pro munimento retinens, postquam in propius suggressos hostis certo iactu tela exhauserat, velut cuneo erupit. idem auxiliarium impetus; et eques protentis hastis perfringit quod obvium et validum erat. ceteri terga praebuere, difficili effugio, quia circumiecta vehicula saepserant abitus. et miles ne mulierum quidem neci temperabat, confixaque telis etiam iumenta corporum cumulum auxerant. clara et antiquis victoriis par ea die laus parta: quippe sunt qui paulo minus quam octoginta milia Britannorum cecidisse tradant, militum quadringentis ferme interfectis nec multo amplius vulneratis. Boudicca vitam veneno finivit. et Poenius Postumus, praefectus castrorum secundae legionis, cognitis quartadecimanorum vicesimanorumque prosperis rebus, quia pari gloria legionem suam fraudaverat abnue- ratque contra ritum militiae iussa ducis, se ipse gladio transegit. At first, the legionaries stood motionless, keeping to the defile as a natural protection: then, when the closer advance of the enemy had enabled them to exhaust their missiles with certitude of aim, they dashed forward in a wedge-like formation. The auxiliaries charged in the same style; and the cavalry, with lances extended, broke a way through any parties of resolute men whom they encountered. The remainder took to flight, although escape was difficult, as the cordon of waggons had blocked the outlets. The troops gave no quarter even to the women: the baggage animals themselves had been speared and added to the pile of bodies. The glory won in the course of the day was remarkable, and equal to that of our older victories: for, by some accounts, little less than eighty thousand Britons fell, at a cost of some four hundred Romans killed and a not much greater number of wounded. Boudicca ended her days by poison; while Poenius Postumus, camp-prefect of the second legion, informed of the exploits of the men of the fourteenth and twentieth, and conscious that he had cheated his own corps of a share in the honours and had violated the rules of the service by ignoring the orders of his commander, ran his sword through his body.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

6 results
1. Julius Caesar, De Bello Gallico, 7.77 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

2. Livy, History, 23.5.12 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

3. Strabo, Geography, 17.3.2-17.3.3 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

17.3.2. Here dwell a people called by the Greeks Maurusii, and by the Romans and the natives Mauri, a populous and flourishing African nation, situated opposite to Spain, on the other side of the strait, at the Pillars of Hercules, which we have frequently mentioned before. On proceeding beyond the strait at the Pillars, with Africa on the left hand, we come to a mountain which the Greeks call Atlas, and the barbarians Dyris. Thence projects into the sea a point formed by the foot of the mountain towards the west of Mauretania, and called the Coteis. Near it is a small town, a little above the sea, which the barbarians call Trinx; Artemidorus, Lynx; and Eratosthenes, Lixus. It lies on the side of the strait opposite to Gadeira, from which it is separated by a passage of 800 stadia, the width of the strait at the Pillars between both places. To the south, near Lixus and the Coteis, is a bay called Emporicus, having upon it Phoenician mercantile settlements. The whole coast continuous with this bay abounds with them. Subtracting these bays, and the projections of land in the triangular figure which I have described, the continent may rather be considered as increasing in magnitude in the direction of south and east. The mountain which extends through the middle of Mauretania, from the Coteis to the Syrtes, is itself inhabited, as well as others running parallel to it, first by the Maurusii, but deep in the interior of the country by the largest of the African tribes, called Gaetuli. 17.3.3. Historians, beginning with the voyage of Ophelas (Apellas?), have invented a great number of fables respecting the sea-coast of Africa beyond the Pillars. We have mentioned them before, and mention them now, requesting our readers to pardon the introduction of marvellous stories, whenever we may be compelled to relate anything of the kind, being unwilling to pass them over entirely in silence, and so in a manner to mutilate our account of the country.It is said, that the Sinus Emporicus (or merchants' bay) has a cave which admits the sea at high tide to the distance even of seven stadia, and in front of this bay a low and level tract with an altar of Hercules upon it, which, they say, is not covered by the tide. This I, of course, consider to be one of the fictitious stories. Like this is the tale, that on other bays in the succeeding coast there were ancient settlements of Tyrians, now abandoned, which consisted of not less than three hundred cities, and were destroyed by the Pharusii and the Nigritae. These people, they say, are distant thirty days' journey from Lynx.
4. Vitruvius Pollio, On Architecture, 8.2.6 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

5. Lucan, Pharsalia, 10.144-10.146 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

6. Tacitus, Annals, 14.31-14.32, 14.35-14.36 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

14.31.  The Icenian king Prasutagus, celebrated for his long prosperity, had named the emperor his heir, together with his two daughters; an act of deference which he thought would place his kingdom and household beyond the risk of injury. The result was contrary — so much so that his kingdom was pillaged by centurions, his household by slaves; as though they had been prizes of war. As a beginning, his wife Boudicca was subjected to the lash and his daughters violated: all the chief men of the Icenians were stripped of their family estates, and the relatives of the king were treated as slaves. Impelled by this outrage and the dread of worse to come — for they had now been reduced to the status of a province — they flew to arms, and incited to rebellion the Trinobantes and others, who, not yet broken by servitude, had entered into a secret and treasonable compact to resume their independence. The bitterest animosity was felt against the veterans; who, fresh from their settlement in the colony of Camulodunum, were acting as though they had received a free gift of the entire country, driving the natives from their homes, ejecting them from their lands, — they styled them "captives" and "slaves," — and abetted in their fury by the troops, with their similar mode of life and their hopes of equal indulgence. More than this, the temple raised to the deified Claudius continually met the view, like the citadel of an eternal tyranny; while the priests, chosen for its service, were bound under the pretext of religion to pour out their fortunes like water. Nor did there seem any great difficulty in the demolition of a colony unprotected by fortifications — a point too little regarded by our commanders, whose thoughts had run more on the agreeable than on the useful. 14.32.  Meanwhile, for no apparent reason, the statue of Victory at Camulodunum fell, with its back turned as if in retreat from the enemy. Women, converted into maniacs by excitement, cried that destruction was at hand and that alien cries had been heard in the invaders' senate-house: the theatre had rung with shrieks, and in the estuary of the Thames had been seen a vision of the ruined colony. Again, that the Ocean had appeared blood-red and that the ebbing tide had left behind it what looked to be human corpses, were indications read by the Britons with hope and by the veterans with corresponding alarm. However, as Suetonius was far away, they applied for help to the procurator Catus Decianus. He sent not more than two hundred men, without their proper weapons: in addition, there was a small body of troops in the town. Relying on the protection of the temple, and hampered also by covert adherents of the rebellion who interfered with their plans, they neither secured their position by fosse or rampart nor took steps, by removing the women and the aged, to leave only able-bodied men in the place. They were as carelessly guarded as if the world was at peace, when they were enveloped by a great barbarian host. All else was pillaged or fired in the first onrush: only the temple, in which the troops had massed themselves, stood a two days' siege, and was then carried by storm. Turning to meet Petilius Cerialis, commander of the ninth legion, who was arriving to the rescue, the victorious Britons routed the legion and slaughtered the infantry to a man: Cerialis with the cavalry escaped to the camp, and found shelter behind its fortifications. Unnerved by the disaster and the hatred of the province which his rapacity had goaded into war, the procurator Catus crossed to Gaul. 14.35.  Boudicca, mounted in a chariot with her daughters before her, rode up to clan after clan and delivered her protest:— "It was customary, she knew, with Britons to fight under female captaincy; but now she was avenging, not, as a queen of glorious ancestry, her ravished realm and power, but, as a woman of the people, her liberty lost, her body tortured by the lash, the tarnished honour of her daughters. Roman cupidity had progressed so far that not their very persons, not age itself, nor maidenhood, were left unpolluted. Yet Heaven was on the side of their just revenge: one legion, which ventured battle, had perished; the rest were skulking in their camps, or looking around them for a way of escape. They would never face even the din and roar of those many thousands, far less their onslaught and their swords! — If they considered in their own hearts the forces under arms and the motives of the war, on that field they must conquer or fall. Such was the settled purpose of a woman — the men might live and be slaves! 14.36.  Even Suetonius, in this critical moment, broke silence. In spite of his reliance on the courage of the men, he still blended exhortations and entreaty: "They must treat with contempt the noise and empty menaces of the barbarians: in the ranks opposite, more women than soldiers meet the eye. Unwarlike and unarmed, they would break immediately, when, taught by so many defeats, they recognized once more the steel and the valour of their conquerors. Even in a number of legions, it was but a few men who decided the fate of battles; and it would be an additional glory that they, a handful of troops, were gathering the laurels of an entire army. Only, keeping their order close, and, when their javelins were discharged, employing shield-boss and sword, let them steadily pile up the dead and forget the thought of plunder: once the victory was gained, all would be their own." Such was the ardour following the general's words — with such alacrity had his veteran troops, with the long experience of battle, prepared themselves in a moment to hurl the pilum — that Suetonius, without a doubt of the issue, gave the signal to engage.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
africa (continent), sub-saharan Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 257
africa (continent) Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 257
asana river Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 257
atlas, mt. Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 257
boudica Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 257
britannia Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 257
cannibalism, britons accused of Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 220
cannibalism, hannibals army accused of Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 220
carthage, carthaginians, outposts of Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 257
cassius dio, his descriptions of bloodshed Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 220
cedar, mt. atlas Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 257
flora Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 257
fut river Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 257
ger river Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 257
ivor river Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 257
killing, graphic descriptions of Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 220
killing, large-scale in roman warfare Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 220
mauretania, romans and Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 257
niger, rivers so named Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 257
sahara desert Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 257
snow' Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 257
speeches, by foreign rebels Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 220
suetonius paulinus, c. Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 257
tacitus, on the britons, his descriptions of large-scale killings Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 220