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Boudicca was queen of the Iceni people of Eastern England and led a major uprising against occupying Roman

forces. Boudicca was married to Prasutagus, ruler of the Iceni people of East Anglia. When the Romans conquered southern England in AD 43, they allowed Prasutagus to continue to rule. However, when Prasutagus died the Romans decided to rule the Iceni directly and confiscated the property of the leading tribesmen. They are also said to have stripped and flogged Boudicca and raped her daughters. These actions exacerbated widespread resentment at Roman rule. In 60 or 61 AD, while the Roman governor Gaius Suetonius Paullinus was leading a campaign in North Wales, the Iceni rebelled. Members of other tribes joined them. Boudicca's warriors successfully defeated the Roman Ninth Legion and destroyed the capital of Roman Britain, then at Colchester. They went on to destroy London and Verulamium (St Albans). Thousands were killed. Finally, Boudicca was defeated by a Roman army led by Paulinus. Many Britons were killed and Boudicca is thought to have poisoned herself to avoid capture. The site of the battle, and of Boudicca's death, are unknown.

"She was huge of frame, terrifying of aspect, and with a harsh voice. A great mass of bright red hair fell to her knees: She wore a great twisted golden necklace, and a tunic of many colors, over which was a thick mantle, fastened by a brooch. Now she grasped a spear, to strike fear into all who watched her..." -Dio Cassius (Dudley and Webster, 54) The story of Boudicca, celebrated Celtic queen, wife, and mother is destined to remain in the gray shadows of history. Written histories of Boudicca, and of early Britain in general, are found in two classical manuscripts, which were most likely derived from the same original source. The historian Tacitus wrote his history only fifty years after the events of 60 CE, and it has been said that his father-in-law Agricola was able to give an eyewitness account of the rebellion. Dio Cassius also gives his account of the events. Although both are biased accounts, they lay down the basic chronological framework of early Roman Britain. Attempts to turn to archaeological discoveries to help pinpoint the exact events has been frustrated, since much of the data was destroyed during pillaging and a significant amount of the land has never been excavated due to a lack of funds, therefore information is limited. The only thing possible at this point is an outline of the catastrophic uprising of Boudicca and the indigenous people of Britain. The Iceni were a Celtic tribe located in an area of southern Britain known as East Anglia. Geographically they were isolated; to the north and east the boundary was the sea and the remainder was covered in dense forest, making invasion from foreigners nearly impossible. The people of this farming economy were of mixed origins. There had been an influx of people from the Hallstat culture, bringing with them a knowledge of iron and pottery, which merged with the skills of those already present from the late Bronze Age. Some time between 43 and 45 CE, Boudicca was married to Prasutagus, King

of the Iceni. It has been said that Boudicca was not of Iceni origin since outside marriages were quite common among the ruling class. In the upper eschelons of Celtic society, women held positions of prestige and power. Many took prominent roles in political, religious, and artistic life. Women also owned land and could choose their spouses and initiate divorce. Although they were relatively protected by geographic advantages, the Roman threat to the Iceni's peaceful existence was very real. The Iceni had remained passive and watched while the Roman Emperor Claudius and his army conquered large parts of Britain in 43 CE. Since Claudius was founding strong military colonies all over the island, the Iceni knew they couldn't remain independent forever from Roman domination. In an attempt to avoid conflict, and in an act of compliance, King Prasutagus went to the city of Camulodunum to become a client/king. This forced him to have to answer to the Roman ruling class, but enabled his tribe and their culture to remain relatively unfettered. Upon his death Prasutagus left his kingdom to be shared by his two daughters and the new Roman emperor, Nero, believing that this would ensure tranquility for his family and kingdom. Roman law, however, did not allow royal inheritance to be passed to daughters, and co-ownership of a kingdom with a woman was unacceptable according to Roman standards. Kinsmen of the royal house were enslaved. Boudicca was flogged and then forced to witness the public rape and torture of her two daughters, who were believed to have been roughly 12 years old at the time of the rebellion. The roman campaign stretched over the entire area. The Romans were experiencing difficulty in the north-east attempting to take the headquarters of Druidism, the Isle of Mona. The Romans feared the Druids as they had been behind rebellions against Caesar in the past. This territory had become the geographical center for anti-Roman and pro-Briton activities. The troubles in the north occupied Seutonius and caused him to overlook Boudicca and the growing threat in the south. While by Roman law Boudicca had no real claim to succession after her husband's death, her people regarded her as their natural leader, and their neighboring tribes were willing to support any anti-Roman uprising. The indigenous people had suffered under Roman taxation for years. They were also driven off their own land and subjected to lives as prisoners and slaves. Sometime between 56 and 60 CE the Temple of Claudius was erected in Colchester to commemorate the life of the Roman emperor who had destroyed the majority of the Celtic culture; this immediately became an object of strong derision for the British. They were also angered by the attack on the headquarters of the Druidic religion. These realities urged neighboring tribes, among them were the Trinovantes, to join Boudicca in her rebellion, which has been said to have been 100,000 people strong, against Roman forces. They began by storming the Roman cities of Camulodunum and Colchester, then proceeding to the growing trade center of Londinium (London), and ending in a final catastrophic battle. One underlying question about the rebellion asks how the Iceni were able to remain unnoticed for so long. There are a few reasons why they were able to succeed as long as they did. The overconfidence of the Romans may have caused their negligence. They had preconceived notions of the "barbarians", and were ill-equipped to deal with small bands of warriors

slipping quietly through the thick forests. The Celts excelled in small-scale guerilla warfare while the slow-moving Roman units were at an obvious disadvantage in the forest. The British Celts also used chariots, which had become obsolete on the continent. They were remarkably small and light, and the driver and warrior were protected by wicker screens on all sides. The written accounts portray Boudicca and her followers in battle in savage and brutal terms. They took the heads of their captives and offered them to the goddess of victory, as this was customary of the Celts. However, while storming the city of London, Dio Cassius gives a detailed description of the torturing of the Roman women: "their breasts were cut off and stuffed in their mouths, so that they seemed to be eating them, then their bodies were skewered lengthwise on sharp stakes" (Webster, 68). Tacitus gives an account of the final battle that tells of the women running about frantically, hair wild, naked and screaming. The Celtic chief was adorned in barbaric splendor with highly ornamental shields and armor. The rest of the army would be only with sword and a small shield, otherwise stripped except for body paint and tattooing. Trumpets would be blaring in an attempt to confuse and intimidate the enemy. Meanwhile, the Druids were standing nearby with their arms raised to the sky and calling on the gods to aid them. The overall appearance of this chaotic scene was initially terrifying to the Romans, who would stand in awe before battle: however, this is a typical ploy of Roman military writing which portrays the enemy as uncivilized animals as opposed to Roman law, order, and civilization. At this point the three principle cities of the province had been captured, and the inhabitants brutally massacred. Tacitus gives a count of roughly 70,000 casualties before the final battle. No one is sure exactly when and where this final confrontation took place. Both sides struggled with famine and disease. Boudicca was having a difficult time keeping order among her troops after victory with its accompanying looting and burning. The British were fighting for their country and their families, while the Romans were still fighting for greed. Tacitus gives us what was supposedly Boudicca's final battle cry to her troops: "The Britons were used to the leadership of women, but she came back before them not as a queen of a distinguished line, but as an ordinary woman, her body cut by the lash avenging the loss of her liberty, and the outrages imposed on her daughters. Roman greed spares neither their bodies, the old or the virgins. The gods were on our side in our quest for vengeance, one legion had already perished, the others are cowering in their forts to escape. They could never face the roar of our thousands, least of all our charge and hand to hand fighting. When the Romans realize their small force and the justice of our cause, they will know it is victory or death. This is my resolve, as a womanfollow me or submit to the Roman yoke" (Webster, 99). The British army was immense, but the Romans were at an advantage for the first time with more armor and shorter swords. The Celts had longer slashing swords and little to no armor. Unintimidated by the barbaric chaos, the Roman army advanced rapidly into the British mass. The Romans swords proved to be deadly at close quarters, while the British were crushed so close together their

longer weapons were rendered useless. Under the command of Seutonius, the Romans massacred the Celts. Fearing capture, Boudicca escaped and fled back to her kingdom where she ended her life by taking a poison. A few months later fire and sword ravaged the previously untouched Iceni territory.

The rebellion of Boudicca has an established and monumental place in British history. While over time she has been viewed in many different lights, she is most commonly seen as the obvious; not a queen, but a mother, wife, and warrior defending her country. Throughout history all-powerful men are seen as threatening, but all-powerful women such as the late queen of the Iceni are awe-inspiring. In numerous written accounts both on stage and off, as well as through works of art, Boudicca has been both disparaged and lauded. Her name and history will consistently serve as a brutal yet remarkable reminder of Britain's past.
Tacitus and Dio agree that Boudica was of royal descent. Dio says that she was "possessed of greater intelligence than often belongs to women", that she was tall, had hair described as red, reddish-brown or tawny hanging below her waist, a harsh voice and a piercing glare, and habitually wore a large golden necklace (perhaps a torc), a many-coloured tunic, and a thick cloak fastened by a brooch.

Interest in the history of these events was revived during the English Renaissance and led to a resurgence of Boudica's fame during the Victorian era, when Queen Victoria was portrayed as her 'namesake', their names having the same meaning.[8] Boudica has since remained an important cultural symbol in the United Kingdom. The absence of native British literature during the early part of the first millennium means that Britain owes its knowledge of Boudica's rebellion solely to the writings of the Romans.

Gildas, in his 6th century De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae, may have been alluding to Boudica when he wrote "A treacherous lioness butchered the governors who had been left to give fuller voice and strength to the endeavours of Roman rule."

Boudicca Biography: Boudicca was the wife of Prasutagus, who was head of the Iceni tribe in East England, in what is now Norfolk and Suffolk. In 43 CE, the Romans invaded Britain, and most of the Celtic tribes were forced to submit. However, the Romans allowed two Celtic kings to retain some of their traditional power; one was Prasutagus. The Roman occupation brought increased Roman settlement, military presence, and attempts to suppress Celtic religious culture. There were major economic changes, including heavy taxes and money lending. In 47 CE the Romans forced the Ireni to disarm, creating resentment. Prasutagus had been given a grant by the Romans, but the Romans then redefined this as a loan. When Prasutagus died in 60 CE, he left half his kingdom to the Emperor Nero to settle this debt. The Romans arrived to collect, but instead of settling for half the kingdom, seized control of it. To humiliate the former rulers, the Romans beat Boudicca publicly, raped their two daughters, seized the wealth of many Iceni and sold much of the royal family into slavery.

The Roman governor Suetonius turned his attention to attacking Wales, taking two-thirds of the Roman military in Britain. Boudicca meanwhile met with the leaders of the Iceni, Trinovanti, Cornovii, Durotiges, and other tribes, who also had grievances against the Romans including grants that had been redefined as loans. They planned to revolt and drive out the Romans. Boudicca's Army Attacks: Led by Boudicca, about 100,000 British attacked Camulodunum (now Colchester), where the Roans had their main center of rule. With Suetonius and most of the Roman forces away, Camulodunum was not well-defended, and the Romans were drive out. he Procurator Decianus was forced to flee. Boudicca's army burned Camulodunum to the ground; only the Roman temple was left. Immediately Boudicca's army turned to the largest city in the British Isles, Londinium (London). Suetonius strategically abandoned the city, and Boudicca's army burned Londinium and massacred the 25,000 inhabitants who had not fled. Archaeological evidence of a layer of burned ash shows the extent of the destruction. Next, Boudicca and her army marched on Verulamium (St. Albans), a city largely populated by Britons who had cooperated with the Romans and who were killed as the city was destroyed. Changing Fortunes: Boudicca's army had counted on seizing Roman food stores when the tribes abandoned their own fields to wage rebellion, but Suetonius had strategically seen to the burning of the Roman stores. Famine thus struck the victorious army, weakening them. Boudicca fought one more battle, though its precise location is not sure. Boudicca's army attacked uphill, and, exhausted, hungry, was easy for the Romans to rout. Roman troops of 1,200 defeated Boudicca's army of 100,000, killing 80,000 to their own loss of 400. What happened to Boudicca is uncertain. It is said she returned to her home territory and took poison to avoid Roman capture. A result of the rebellion was that the Romans strengthened their military presence in Britain and also lessened the oppressiveness of their rule. Boudicca's story was nearly forgotten until Tacitus' work, Annals, was rediscovered in 1360. Her story became popular during the reign of another English queen who headed an army against foreign invasion, Queen Elizabeth I.

The Romans and Queen Boudica


Queen Boudica and her army gave the Romans a major challenge. In AD 60, Boudica led an uprising against the Romans. Boudica was the queen of the Iceni tribe who lived in what is now East Anglia. What caused this major rebellion? When Boudicas husband,Prasutagus, died, he left his territory to the Romans and to his two daughters. By doing this, he had hoped to keep all parties happy that they had got part of his kingdom. When the Romans moved into the kingdom, they looted buildings and took people away to be slaves. Boudica claimed that the Romans flogged her and raped her daughters. This is what caused her to lead a rebellion. Other tribes in East Anglia joined with the Iceni to fight the Romans. An army of about 30,000 men attacked the Romans but though they had numbers on their side, they were a ramshackle force with no organisation. However, they had one major thing on their side: the Romans were concentrating their efforts on defeating the Druids in Anglesey. There was no sizeable Roman army force in East Anglia. As a result, the Iceni had a clear run to the major Roman city of Colchester (Camulodunum) in Essex.

Here they massacred the population of the city. It is said that everybody was killed men, women and children. Just outside of Colchester, the Iceni and others killed soldiers from the 9th Legion who had tried to stop the rebels. It is thought that 2000 Roman soldiers were killed. From Colchester, the rebels moved on to London (Londinium). Here a similar pattern of destruction took place. It is thought that 70,000 died here. Suetonius only had a small garrison defending London at this time. He ordered it to leave for its own safety. To him, trained soldiers were more important than civilians. St. Albans (Verulamium) was also attacked. Suetonius returned with his force via Chester and Wroxeter. The tribes people by this time may have been too confident after their victories. Up against a disciplined and well-lead Roman army, they were heavily beaten. The only written account we have on the rebellion comes from Tacitus, a Roman writer. He claimed that 80,000 Britons were killed in this battle, but this is likely to be an exaggeration. He also wrote that only 400 Roman soldiers were killed which is also highly unlikely. However, historians do accept that it was a major victory for the Romans that once again asserted their authority over the Britons. What of Boudica? Tacitus claims that Boudica took poison and killed herself rather than face capture.