Gaius Suetonius Paulinus

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Governor of Britannia from c.58AD to 61


"Suetonius Paulinus after himĀ¹ had two successful years, reducing tribes and strengthening the garrisons: presuming upon which success, he attacked the island of Anglesey, a rallying-point of rebellion, and so left his rear open to surprise."
Tacitus Agricola 14.3
  1. Quintus Veranius, his predecessor.

The causes of the Boudiccan revolt are touched upon in Suetonius' autobiography of Nero (chapter xviii), and the full story is narrated in Cornelius Tacitus' Annals (book 14, chapter 29 et. seq.), and Cassius Dio in his History of Rome (LXII.i-xi), treats the same subject with his usual tabloid sensationalism.

"... Now, however, Britain was in the hands of Suetonius Paulinus, who in military knowledge and in popular favour, which allows no one to be without a rival, vied with Corbulo, and aspired to equal the glory of the recovery of Armenia by the subjugation of Rome's enemies. He therefore prepared to attack the island of Mona ..."
Tacitus Annals XIV

Click here for a breakdown of the military campaigns of Gaius Suetonius Paulinus

A Potted Biography of Paulinus

Praetor in 41AD and Legatus Legionis in Mauretania the following year, when he overran the country of the Moors as far as the Atlas Mountains (vide Dio, LX.ix.1). In Britain, he concentrated his campaigns against the Ordovices tribe in central Wales & Snowdonia. He was heading for a confontation with the druids on Anglesey when the Iceni and their neighbours the Trinovantes were incited to revolt by queen Boudicca and went on the rampage in south-east England, sacking the colonia at Colchester, the municipium of Saint Alban's and the thriving port and administrative centre at London. This forced Paulinus to retreat back to the Midlands where he eventually defeated Boudicca's forces near Mancetter. This military and administrative disaster did not seem to effect his political career, however, as he became consul for the second time in 66AD, with Gaius Luccius Telesinus' his senior colleague (vide Dio History LXIII.i.1; et Tacitus Annals XVI.xiv).