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normanhurst
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PostSubject: decimation   Mon 09 Jan 2012, 11:24

Is there any evidence to suggest that decimation was ever used in England?
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: decimation   Mon 09 Jan 2012, 11:30

You mean when the legions were there or at any time?
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normanhurst
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PostSubject: Re: decimation   Mon 09 Jan 2012, 12:28

More of when the legions were here, but anytime really… is it something the Romans dreamt up or did they adapt it from another source…
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: decimation   Mon 09 Jan 2012, 13:01

It's a very early Roman invention, as far as I know. It was allegedly used way back in the early days of the Republic. Crassus re-introduced it during the Servile War and then it was used intermittently throughout the centuries. I imagine it was considered a "last resort" since it advertised a potentially disastrous lack of trust in the same leader who was authorised enough to order it. Those who we know ordered their own troops decimated were either guys so powerful they could get away with it (Caesar on the way up) or guys in such a sticky spot that they felt they had nothing to lose (Anthony on the way down).

I'm not sure about Romans decimating Romans in Britain, but Tacitus does mention that Agricola decimated the Ordovices tribe who lived around Snowdonia in 78CE (when Tacitus says "decimated" he means the real thing - not the way people nowadays use it to mean "massacre of a majority").
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Triceratops
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PostSubject: Re: decimation   Mon 09 Jan 2012, 20:19

Not exactly decimation, there were four French corporals from the 136th Regiment,executed at Souain in March 1915,as an encouragement to the others.

Trike.
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Hereword Awake
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PostSubject: Re: decimation   Thu 12 Jan 2012, 10:54

Crassus, ever a harsh disciplinarian, decimated 500 troops in 71bc who had fled from Spartacus's army. Plutarch described it as "Savage and very repulsive".

By Mark Anthony's rule, decimation was controversial. He tried to strike fear into his troops by doing this for cowardice and desertion.

Suetonius records that it was used for the last time by Augustus in 17 BC, while Tacitus records that Lucius Apronius used decimation to punish a full cohort of the III Augusta after their defeat by Tacfarinas in AD 20.

In 350ad, black Roman commander Maurice of the doomed Theban legion, apparently carrying the spear of Christ, and his 6,660 men refused to commit acts of war against fellow Christians, and were successively decimated until none were left.
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normanhurst
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PostSubject: Re: decimation   Thu 12 Jan 2012, 11:28

Never heard of that example but that’s the sort of disciplinary methods I’ve been looking into.

Thanks people.
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PostSubject: Re: decimation   Thu 12 Jan 2012, 11:52

Norman, I don't know about decimation in England (I just re-read your title! Embarassed), but given the vague and prevaricating sources we have for the Boudican campaign of ad60-61, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Paulinus didn't use some form of punishment on his troops who he thought failed him?

That might be the IInd Leg, who failed to leave their Exeter camp? Or survivors of the routed IXth Leg?
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