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Thursday, 3 January 2013

What If Boudicca beat Gaius Suetonius Paulinus?


What if the Iceni warrior queen had not lost her final battle? If Boudicca, the Iceni warrior queen, had defeated the Roman Governor of Britain, Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, at the final battle along Watling Street; what would she have done next? 

To the north was the Brigante Kingdom ruled by Queen Cartimandua. She enjoyed friendship with Rome and was known as collaborator queen. This would not have gone well with the Iceni warrior queen and her Trinovante allies. Also in the south west of the Isle, at today's Exeter, was the II Augusta Legion. This Roman Legion had been held back from aiding Gaius Suetonius Paulinus. Maybe they were getting ready to evacuate - expecting the Roman governor of Britain to be defeated.

Which force would Warrior Queen Boudicca of Iceni have faced first after defeating Gaius Suetonius Paulinus in our alternative reality? Perhaps the last Roman stronghold at Exeter? For the Roman allied Brigante Queen Cartimandua in the north would not be going anywhere else and could be put on ice for later attention. That is if; the II Augusta Legion stayed put and tried to defend their stronghold at Exeter. These political consequences must have been real and acted upon - especially by Cartimandua. Surely she did not remain quite for she too was a sovereign of great prowess. Perhaps more so then Boudicca for she would have been Queen of the Brigante for about sixteen to seventeen years by the time of 61 AD.


What was going through Brigante Queen Cartimandua's mind? She would surely dread the prospect of victorious Boudicca and her Iceni horde, yet there is no mention of her helping Gaius Suetonius Paulinus and his Romans. Her exiled and divorced husband Venutius might have tried to side with Boudicca, yet if he did; there is no mention of such. Venutius had good reason to hate Rome and must have much to gain by joining Boudicca's uprising. He was always looking for ways to usurp Cartimandua and this opportunity would surely not be missed. There is no historical record of this, yet something must have happened among the feuding Brigantes while the Iceni and Trinovante tribes went on their killing spree of Roman occupied Britain.


The Brigante southernmost boarders would have been about where Manchester is today - maybe a little further south. If the last battle against Suetonius was around the Midland area; then surely Boudicca and Cartimandua might have been closer then expected in the final days of Boudicca's great war against Rome. Perhaps Cartimandua of Brigantes left her great hill fort and patrolled the southern boarders. Maybe she needed to keep her own Brigante subjects in check for it is plausible that they might have wanted to join Boudicca's rebellion. It was, after all, an intoxicating time of British victory over the hated Roman occupiers. How did Cartimandua's Brigante subjects become reluctant to help Rome if she was a good and loyal client queen to the Roman Empire? Did she contain her own people from rebelling and joining the Iceni and Trinovante by imposing her presence along the southern boarders? Would this leave her northern boarder with Caladonia's Picts unprotected (presuming Venutius had sanctuary here) All these problems must have weighed heavy and how was Venutius kept at bay during this time - if he was. Perhaps the rebellion happened so fast, that there was little time for Venutius to act - if he was in exile up north in Caladonia with the Picts. 

I would love to be able to go back in time and see Cartimandua of the Brigantes and witness how she dealt with the situation. What did she think of Boudicca? What did Boudicca think of Cartimandua? How did Cartimandua keep her Brigante out of this turbulent trouble? So many questions and no historical records to show. Cartimandua of Brigantes still remained in favour with Rome after Boudicca was put down, so she must have aided the Roman Empire in some way. Eight years later during the Year of Four Emperors; Rome held true to Queen Cartimandua and aided her escape from the Brigante lands when Venutius, her divorced husband, did overthrow her rule. They sent cohorts to rescue her and bring her south.

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