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Gaius Suetonius Paulinus

From Academic Kids

Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, also spelled Paullinus, (flourished 1st century CE) was a Roman general.

He went to Mauretania with the rank of praetor in AD 42 to suppress a revolt and soon earned promotion to legatus legionis. He was the first Roman to cross the Atlas Mountains. In 59 he received command of the army in Roman Britain and became Governor general of the territories there.

Suetonius acted vigorously in suppressing revolt, especially in Wales, but he was campaigning against the druids of Mona when Boudicca razed Camulodunum (circa 60) and he had to race southwards. He could not reach Verulamium or Londinium, and both settlements suffered heavy damage. Suetonius advanced down Watling Street to choose a battlefield to his advantage. He took a stand at an unidentified location in a defile with a wood behind him, believed to lie in the Midlands near Manduessedum near the modern day town of Atherstone in Warwickshire along Watling Street. The discipline of the 14th legion sufficed to rout the numerically superior Britons. According to Tacitus 20,000 Roman troops faced around 100,000 Britons at the Battle of Watling Street. The army of Boudicca advanced straight at the waiting Romans, but when the forces met the superior weapons and discipline of the legionaries forced them back. Tacitus states that the Britons' own baggage train then prevented their flight, and defeat turned into slaughter. Possibly 80,000 Britons died, while Roman casualties remained under 1,000. (The British casualties included women and children, for families accompanied the combatants.)

Following the victory, the new procurator, Gaius Julius Alpinus Classicianus, expressed concern to the Emperor Nero that Suetonius's punitive policies would only lead to continued hostilities. An inquiry was set up under Nero's freedman, Polyclitus, and an excuse, that Suetonius had lost some ships, was found to releive him of his command. He was replaced by the more conciliatory Publius Petronius Turpilianus.

Paullinus became a consul ordinarius in 66. During the civil war following the death of Servius Sulpicius Galba in January 69 (see Year of four emperors), Paullinus agreed to lead the forces of Marcus Salvius Otho against the supporters of Aulus Vitellius, and won a victory near Cremona against Aulus Caecina Alienus. But Otho suffered a decisive defeat at Bedriacum. Despite fighting on the losing side, Paullinus received a pardon in 69. His eventual fate remains unknown.

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