This month’s edition is on Boudicca, warrior queen of Briton!
Boudicca is a famous warrior queen who defied the Romans and won a great victory against them in 60 / 61 AD.
She is described by the Roman writer Cassius Dio as:
“very tall. Her eyes seemed to stab you. Her voice was harsh and loud. Her thick, reddish-brown hair flung down below her waist. She always wore a great golden torc around her neck and a flowing tartan cloak fastened with a brooch.” (Source: <http://www.biographyonline.net/royalty/boudica.html>)
Boudicca was the wife of Prasutagus, the leader of the Iceni people of native Briton when the Romans arrived to conquer the island. They allowed Prasutagus to continue ruling under Roman control. When he died the Romans decided they wanted to rule the Iceni directly. They claimed land belonging to the Iceni leaders and reportedly raped Boudicca’s daughters. Boudicca herself was captured and flogged.
Instead of submitting Boudicca declared a rebellion against the Romans. She rallied the British tribes and led a great army against the Romans. Her tribe and those that joined her won a great victory against the ninth legion and destroyed Colchester, the capital of Roman Britain. The army then moved on London and Verulamium (St Albans). These were also destroyed by Boudicca and the Britons.
Boudicca was ruthless against the Romans and anyone caught in between. It was reported at the time that 80,000 people were killed in the cities she destroyed.
Boudicca and her army marched on London where a great battle commenced. Unfortunately, Roman tactics won the day and Boudicca and her army were trapped into a battle in a narrow location. It meant that Boudicca’s superior numbers were outmatched for the Roman discipline and spears.
No one knows what happened to Boudicca. It is thought that she poisoned herself to avoid capture.
Her exploits and final battle were recorded by Roman historian Tacitus in his ‘Annals of Rome’.
There has been some question over whether Boudicca was a heroine of Briton, or murderous villain. She certainly showed no mercy to the Romans and civilians who stood in her way.
What do you think of Boudicca? Let me know in the comments below!