Nero and Suetonius Paullinus
- View SourceI was rewatching "Boudicca: Warrior Queen" on the History Channel
last night and since I had seen it before I wasn't paying close
attention until towards the end the narrator said that Paullinus'
retribution against the Britons after his defeat of Boudicca was so
brutal that even the emperor Nero thought it was excessive and
recalled him to Rome.
I was surprised at this display of compassion so I tried to find a
reference to it. I finally found this passage in a Wikipedia article
"Suetonius reinforced his army with legionaries and auxiliaries from
Germania and conducted punitive operations against any remaining
pockets of resistance, but this proved counterproductive. The new
procurator, Gaius Julius Alpinus Classicianus, expressed concern to
the Emperor Nero that Suetonius's activities 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 relieve him of his command. He was replaced by the more
conciliatory Publius Petronius Turpilianus."
This article also goes on to briefly describe the rest of Paullinus'
career that I found interesting:
"Suetonius became consul ordinarius in 66. In 69, during the year of
civil wars that followed the death of Nero (see Year of four
emperors), he was one of Otho's senior generals and military advisors.
He and Publius Marius Celsus defeated Aulus Caecina Alienus, one of
Vitellius's generals, near Cremona, but Suetonius would not allow his
men to follow up their advantage and was accused of treachery as a
result. When Caecina joined his forces with those of Fabius Valens,
Suetonius advised Otho not to risk a battle but was overruled, leading
to Otho's decisive defeat at Bedriacum. Suetonius was captured by
Vitellius and obtained a pardon by claiming that he had deliberately
lost the battle for Otho, although this was almost certainly untrue.
His eventual fate remains unknown."
I guess the next time I lose a battle, I'll have to claim I did it on
purpose so the victor could be victorious!