Caratacus hero or villain

Caratacus hero or villain
Caratacus hero or villain
Caratacus Hero or Villain? It has been said, at least by those that said it, that history is written by the victors. This perhaps explains why King Caratacus is a little-known historical figure. I was intrigued when reading about the Roman occupation of Britain at the references to this elusive character and decided to research further. To do this I’d like some help. So come; journey with me on a voyage through time to see what we can uncover. Join me now in my Time Machine. Don’t be shy, hop aboard, no shoving at the back please. Here we go! August 55BC. Look, look down below. The 10,000 Roman soldiers at the command of Julius Ceaser, having crossed from Gaul (France) landed on the beach at Deal. Over to our left a force of Britons, fierce and warlike painted with woad, stiffly limed hair like white torches. The Romans try to advance but are beaten back and eventually hold the beach where they wait for reinforcements to arrive. A brutal storm rages in the distance howling winds and pellets of rain stop any reinforcements reaching the shore. The Romans are forced to withdraw to prevent a massacre. ‘All aboard!’ We must hop forward, quickly before the storm hits! July - September 54BC. We are in the same place, Deal in Kent. Watch now as Julius Ceaser lands a force of some 27,000 Cavalry and Infantry. But where is the opposing force of Britons? We’ll follow the march of the Romans, eventually halting just north of the Tamesis (River Thames). Now see the great tribal leader Cassivellanus at the head of a large force. Watch as the battle unfolds, the savage frontal attacks of the fearless barbarians are beaten back time and time again. The dying screams, the clash of swords on shields come swirling eerily out of the mist. Fallen comrades and enemies alike either dead or injured are trampled underfoot. The unprotected bodies of the Britons are no match for the armour and relentlessness of the disciplined legionnaires. Dismembered corpses like so much flotsam are strewn over the battlefield. The Romans accept the surrender of some of the tribal leaders. But not Cassivellanus. If we stay long enough we will see the crops burn and guerrilla tactics carried out until the Romans withdraw. Problems in Gaul have stretched the army too thin. Don’t worry; we won’t stay as I can see some of you going green at the sight of all the blood. Nobody said war was nice. A quick twiddle with the controls and we’re off. 5AD. Cunobelinus, King of the Catuvellaunian tribe-based in Hertfordshire is acknowledged as the King of Britain by Rome, still the ruling force throughout the known world. If we look closely we can see him reading the despatch. Look closer still, can you see the gleam in his eye? Is that the lust for power? He will look to conquer the tribes and expand his own already formidable territory. Let’s be off before he decides to conquer us too. 43AD King Cunobelinus is dead and has been succeeded by his son Caratacus. We are in the Kings Court. Listen quietly now as we learn how the previously subdued tribes are in open rebellion against the Catuvellaunian oppression. The Atrebates to the south (Hampshire) have regained some of their lands. Caratacus orders all the lands of the Atrabates confiscated and an exile for their King, Verica. We won’t watch the conflict but instead follow the deposed King to Rome. He is greeted as an honoured guest and invited to the court of the new Emperor Tiberius Claudius Drusus. Verica appeals to the Emperor for support in retaking his lands. Claudius, with the shifty look of a born politician, agrees to aid Verica as long as he remains loyal to Rome. This provides a perfect excuse for an invasion. Let’s return to Kent once again, this time to Rutupiae (Richborough) where we can watch a mighty force disembark. Four full legions, somewhere around 40,000 men, hit the shore in orderly fashion and quickly establish a field base. These are disciplined soldiers, hardened veterans of many campaigns in Germania and Gaul. Under the command of Aulus Plautius the base is secured and orders given to seize the Catuvellaunian capital, Camulodunum (Colchester). A number of skirmishes take place as we follow alongside the legions, most notably at the crossings of the rivers Medway and Tamesis, during which Caratacus’ brother Togodumnus is killed. The Roman Legions and experienced auxiliaries simply brush aside any assault as though irritated by gnats. Now, within striking distance of the capital the Army has stopped. Let’s find out why. Apparently Emperor Claudius wishes to lead the final attack personally. The stoic legionnaires stand around looking ready to bite the heads off any woad covered Barbarian that wanders too close. Two weeks is a long time in politics and army camps, time to hop. Oh, and whoever it is that keeps licking the windows can you stop it please? August 43AD The Emperor has arrived with reinforcements, including elephants. The first time any such beast has been seen in Britain. Can you imagine the shock and awe of the locals when they see armour-clad elephants leading the attack? If you are feeling brave enough we can sneak past the guards and see what the regulars are doing. They are probably drinking watery wine, playing bone dice, shooting the breeze and generally ignoring the death and destruction to be faced the following day. On second thoughts let us skip to the morning. Dawn. Claudius has ordered the attack. The legions march out led by the elephants. The early morning dew is already burning off, turning the marshes misty and reducing visibility. Caratacus has his men stationed before the walls of the town and start the war chants as soon as their scouts see movement. The soldiers respond by rhythmically banging swords on shields. As the mist thickens we can hear these ethereal sounds drifting in and out on the breeze. The Britons charge and the clash of arms sound incredibly close. Soon the shrill, deafening agonised trumpeting of injured and marsh-stuck elephants joins the cacophony. Men from both sides die and sink, some noiselessly, some in screaming terror. Look now; the Romans are forming the Testudo (Turtle). This formation is almost impregnable when performed by disciplined troops. Shields overlapping to front, back, sides and overhead, the Testudo marches forward at a steady pace employing the short sword to great effect as the enemy is drawn close and hacked to pieces. The Britons retreat and 11 chieftains are surrendering to the Emperor. Caratacus is not among them. There follows a confusing period as Caratacus steadily moves westward across the south, performing a series of lightening attacks on the Roman supply chains as they stretch ever more thinly across the country. We could hop to and fro and hope to come across the remainder of his forces as he recruits followers from disenfranchised Atrebatians and the Kingdom of the Durotriges, a war-like tribe whose territory covered Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. But, with no real specifics in time to lock on to, trying to locate them would be an exercise on futility. We can surmise that these conjoined forces effectively slowed the Roman advance as it took the legionnaires some eight years to subdue the south. Besides which, it smells like someone has thrown up in here! We need to return to our own time and eject whoever made that mess, and I can do some further research. Those of you that wish to join me in the morning are welcome. The only source I could find was the history written by Tacitus. Unfortunately it was penned a number of years after the events - he was born in 55AD - so we cannot be absolutely positive that they are absolutely accurate. Still, we can be sure that Caratacus and his forces retreated to Wales first to the land of the Silures (Glamorgan) - where the inferior force of Britons survived an indecisive engagement - and then north to the lands of the Ordovices (central Gwynedd, southern Clwyd, northern Powys) in the year 51AD. Tacitus writes that Caratacus chose the site of the final battle. This was unusual against the might of Rome and a change of tactics by the Britons who had enjoyed prolonged success by employing guerrilla methods. For hundreds of years the scene of the final battle has been a matter of conjecture and myth. Although the most likely of sites is Caer Caradoc, a hill in Shropshire bordering Wales.Time to go folks. 51AD Caratacus is tired of running; he has chosen the site of the final battle, and chosen well. We can see the new Governor, Publis Ostorius Scapula, surveying the defensive setup. He looks worried. Both advance and retreat would be difficult for the Romans but easy for the Britons. On the hills at either side where access would have been easier Caratacus had strewn boulders and stones to act as a rampart. As if that wasn’t enough to contend with, there was a fast flowing river of varying depth to cross first. From our vantage point hidden in the foliage, we can see the Britons standing eerily silent at the top of the defences. A command conference is taking place in the Roman encampment. Look now as centurions jog back to the main body of men and start yelling abuse in Latin. The advance is sounded the shrill notes split the air. The first troops approached the hills without the slightest flinch, not because they were brave but because they were afraid; if they advanced they might die, if they retreated they would die. We can feel the ground shaking as boulders bounce down and pass through the legionnaires as though they were not there. Hundreds are wiped out in minutes, all that remained of what had only moments before been men, were bloody red smears across the rocks and grass. Still the Romans advanced. The boulders are followed by rocks and stones and finally spears as the remaining force breached the hills. Now we can see the battle turn as the Cohorts breast the hill and vicious hand to hand fighting starts. As soon as the Romans are able to form the Testudo, they do so to great effect. The heavily outnumbered Britons finally begin to buckle under the onslaught and are no match for the Testudo, with their short swords, in front of them and the auxiliary forces, with Javelins and Sabres flanking them. Suddenly there is a group of Barbarian horsemen splintering off. That’s Caratacus leading a small group in the route. As we observe, cowering in the bushes, Caratacus’ wife and daughter are amongst the captured. Best we make off before someone comes sniffing around. 21st Century. Our time travelling adventure has come to a halt. Once more history is too vague to pin down exact dates. However, we can finish the tale from Tacitus’ “Annals,” Book XII. From this text we know that Caratacus fled north to the tribe of the Brigantes. Unfortunately Cartimandua, Queen of the Brigantes was in league with the Romans and handed the defiant King over in chains. Caratacus was taken to Rome where he is brought before the senate and delivers this impassioned speech (copied from Tacitus): “Had my moderation in prosperity been equal to my noble birth and fortune, I should have entered this city as your friend rather than as your captive; and you would not have disdained to receive, under a treaty of peace, a king descended from illustrious ancestors and ruling many nations. My present lot is as glorious to you as it is degrading to myself. I had men and horses, arms and wealth. What wonder if I parted with them reluctantly? If you Romans choose to lord it over the world, does it follow that the world is to accept slavery? Were I to have been at once delivered up as a prisoner, neither my fall nor your triumph would have become famous. My punishment would be followed by oblivion, whereas, if you save my life, I shall be an everlasting memorial of your clemency.
http://essayonlines.info/how-ebooks-can-be-very-valuable/

Caratacus hero or villain 8.5 of 10 on the basis of 4307 Review.