Nor was Suetonius silent at such a crisis. Though he confided in the
valour of his men, he yet mingled encouragements and entreaties to
disdain the clamours and empty threats of the barbarians. “There,”
he said, “you see more women than warriors. Unwarlike, unarmed, they
will give way the moment they have recognised that sword and that
courage of their conquerors, which have so often routed them. Even
among many legions, it is a few who really decide the battle, and
it will enhance their glory that a small force should earn the renown
of an entire army. Only close up the ranks, and having discharged
your javelins, then with shields and swords continue the work of bloodshed
and destruction, without a thought of plunder. When once the victory
has been won, everything will be in your power.”

Such was the enthusiasm which followed the general’s address, and
so promptly did the veteran soldiery, with their long experience of
battles, prepare for the hurling of the javelins, that it was with
confidence in the result that Suetonius gave the signal of battle.

At first, the legion kept its position, clinging to the narrow defile
as a defence; when they had exhausted their missiles, which they discharged
with unerring aim on the closely approaching foe, they rushed out
in a wedge-like column. Similar was the onset of the auxiliaries,
while the cavalry with extended lances broke through all who offered
a strong resistance. The rest turned their back in flight, and flight
proved difficult, because the surrounding waggons had blocked retreat.
Our soldiers spared not to slay even the women, while the very beasts
of burden, transfixed by the missiles, swelled the piles of bodies.
Great glory, equal to that of our old victories, was won on that day.
Some indeed say that there fell little less than eighty thousand of
the Britons, with a loss to our soldiers of about four hundred, and
only as many wounded. Boudicea put an end to her life by poison. Poenius
Postumus too, camp-prefect of the second legion, when he knew of the
success of the men of the fourteenth and twentieth, feeling that he
had cheated his legion out of like glory, and had contrary to all
military usage disregarded the general’s orders, threw himself on
his sword.

The whole army was then brought together and kept under canvas to
finish the remainder of the war. The emperor strengthened the forces
by sending from Germany two thousand legionaries, eight cohorts of
auxiliaries, and a thousand cavalry. On their arrival the men of the
ninth had their number made up with legionary soldiers. The allied
infantry and cavalry were placed in new winter quarters, and whatever
tribes still wavered or were hostile were ravaged with fire and sword.
Nothing however distressed the enemy so much as famine, for they had
been careless about sowing corn, people of every age having gone to
the war, while they reckoned on our supplies as their own. Nations,
too, so high-spirited inclined the more slowly to peace, because Julius
Classicanus, who had been sent as successor to Catus and was at variance
with Suetonius, let private animosities interfere with the public
interest, and had spread an idea that they ought to wait for a new
governor who, having neither the anger of an enemy nor the pride of
a conqueror, would deal mercifully with those who had surrendered.
At the same time he stated in a despatch to Rome that no cessation
of fighting must be expected, unless Suetonius were superseded, attributing
that general’s disasters to perverseness and his successes to good

Accordingly one of the imperial freedmen, Polyclitus, was sent to
survey the state of Britain, Nero having great hopes that his influence
would be able not only to establish a good understanding between the
governor and the pro-curator, but also to pacify the rebellious spirit
of the barbarians. And Polyclitus, who with his enormous suite had
been a burden to Italy and Gaul, failed not, as soon as he had crossed
the ocean, to make his progresses a terror even to our soldiers. But
to the enemy he was a laughing-stock, for they still retained some
of the fire of liberty, knowing nothing yet of the power of freedmen,
and so they marvelled to see a general and an army who had finished
such a war cringing to slaves. Everything, however, was softened down
for the emperor’s ears, and Suetonius was retained in the government;
but as he subsequently lost a few vessels on the shore with the crews,
he was ordered, as though the war continued, to hand over his army
to Petronius Turpilianus, who had just resigned his consulship. Petronius
neither challenged the enemy nor was himself molested, and veiled
this tame inaction under the honourable name of peace.

That same year two remarkable crimes were committed at Rome, one by
a senator, the other by the daring of a slave. Domitius Balbus, an
ex-praetor, from his prolonged old age, his childlessness and his
wealth, was exposed to many a plot. His kinsman, Valerius Fabianus,
who was marked out for a career of promotion, forged a will in his
name with Vinicius Rufinus and Terentius Lentinus, Roman knights,
for his accomplices. These men had associated with them Antonius Primus
and Asinius Marcellus. Antonius was a man of ready audacity; Marcellus
had the glory of being the great-grandson of Asinius Pollio, and bore
a character far from contemptible, except that he thought poverty
the greatest of all evils. So Fabianus, with the persons whom I have
named and some others less distinguished, executed the will. The crime
was proved against them before the Senate, and Fabianus and Antonius
with Rufinus and Terentius were condemned under the Cornelian law.
Marcellus was saved from punishment rather than from disgrace by the
memory of his ancestors and the intercessions of the emperor.
The Annals by Tacitus