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{Four figures are from google images Commons}

Boudica was a queen in Norfolk of the British tribe of Iceni in the year of 60-61.AD. She led her forces against the Roman Empire in Britain. She was a charismatic and strong woman in her era. Her legacy has been recorded and has been studied throughout history from popular culture myths and legends to history. Though her tribe was at the head of the attack against Rome her charisma and strong leadership led to other tribes also taking up arms against their Roman masters.

Her first historical appearance was recorded by historians Tacitus and Cassius wrote of Boudica’s royal descent, as they described her as one “possessed of greater intelligence than often belongs to women.”(footnote) , she was also a very tall woman with a voice of authority.

There was little contact with Britain during these times but it was noted that there were many strong Celtic tribes. The troubles that brew in East Anglia, the Iceni tribe was led by King Prasutagus, who was a friend of the Romans, but when he died, he left half of his kingdom to the Romans and the other half of his kingdom to his Wife, known as Queen Boudica. The Romans wanted all the land the Iceni had controlled and demanded Boudicca to give up her throne and pay extra taxes.

Queen Boudica refused the Romans and marched with her army to “Londinum” which is present day London. The Roman Empire had made London their central and important trading hub in Britain. Later news had spread of Boudica’s rebellion throughout Britain. The Roman Governor known as Paulinus left from Wales to travel to London, with his army but he and his troops were outnumbered. Upon the successful siege of London the Iceni had burnt down London and killed many hundreds of people, not just the Romans but also Britons. Boudica’s success led to great momentum which she and her army rode through Britain sacking and pillaging many Towns.

‘The Battle of Watling’ took place in a Roman controlled area this battle had officially ended the alliance between the tribes of the British people lead by the Boudica and Rome. The Roman army which was led by Gaius Suentons Paulinus, even though heavily out number had defeated the allied tribe. Though the battle was won the Romans had taken major losses in battle. This major victory for the Romans had marked the end of any resistance from the tribes of Britain, and was a show of the superior might of the ruling Roman forces. This brought peace to the Southern half of the island, which lasted until 401.ad. It was said in the aftermath Emperor Nero was so shaken upon the events and battles in Britain that he even considered  withdrawing his armies from Britain all together, but the end of any further revolts led to an established and powerful hold of the island under Roman rule.

The Historian Tacitus said in his annals, that the queen Boudica had poisoned herself. Prior to this, twenty years before, there was no mention of suicide.

After the mass rebellion of Boudica, the people of Southern Britain had settle down and lived under Roman rule. The Britons enjoyed the living style of the Romans, in the social and cultural places such as the established baths and shops. Throughout the language they spoke in latin. So the long-term affect of the rebellion helped them to live a civilized life the “Roman way of living”

Historical sources from the Roman historian Tacitus who is one of the most important and famous intellectuals from the “Roman World”. Had an eye witness account of the Boudica revolt which has left us with these historical records.

The location of Queen Boudica’s defeat is still unknown but most historians have agreed upon a favorite site located in the West Midlands. Somewhere along the Roman road which is now called Watling Street, But others suggest, such as Kevin.K. Carrol somewhere very close to High Cross in Leicestershire.

The study of Boudica is so vital in todays society because she left such a “heroic” mark throughout history in popular culture, Boudica has shown what a strong character a woman in ancient history can be. Fighting for her husband her tribe and uniting tribes under one strong leader, which in the ancient times was very unique. Her will to stand against the Roman Empire and not bowing down to them. Bodica’s strength, power to inspire and charisma, repeats through history with men and women still finding strength and inspiration in powerful, female leaders such as Elizabeth, Joan of Arc and many more.


Page56 : Boudica’s Odyssey in Early Modern England By Dr. Samantha Frénée-Hutchins