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He writes that she habitually wore a large golden necklace perhaps a torc , a colourful tunic, and a thick cloak fastened by a brooch. Boudica's husband, Prasutagus, was the king of the Iceni, a people who inhabited roughly what is now Norfolk. They were proud of their independence, and had revolted in AD 47 when the then Roman governor Publius Ostorius Scapula planned to disarm all the peoples in the area of Britain under Roman control following a number of local uprisings.

Ostorius defeated them and went on to put down other uprisings around Britain. It is unknown whether he became the king only after Ostorius's defeat of the Iceni; Tacitus does not date the start of Prasutagus's reign and first mentioned him, as a long-reigning king who had died, when he wrote about Boudica's rebellion. Tacitus mentions longstanding reasons for the Trinovantes to hate Rome: "It was against the veterans that their hatred was most intense.

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For these new settlers in the colony of Camulodunum drove people out of their houses, ejected them from their farms, called them captives and slaves The immediate cause of the rebellion was gross mistreatment by the Romans. Tacitus wrote, "The Icenian king Prasutagus, celebrated for his long prosperity, had named the emperor his heir, together with his two daughters; an act of deference which he thought would place his kingdom and household beyond the risk of injury.

Boudica : Iron Age Warrior Queen by Richard Hingley and Christina Unwin (2006, UK-Paperback)

The result was contrary — so much so that his kingdom was pillaged by centurions, his household by slaves; as though they had been prizes of war. In AD 60 or 61, while the current governor, Gaius Suetonius Paulinus , was leading a campaign against the island of Mona modern Anglesey in the north of Wales, which was a refuge for British rebels and a stronghold of the druids , the Iceni conspired with their neighbours the Trinovantes, amongst others, to revolt. Boudica was chosen as their leader. Tacitus records that she addressed her army with these words, "It is not as a woman descended from noble ancestry, but as one of the people that I am avenging lost freedom, my scourged body, the outraged chastity of my daughters," and concluded, "This is a woman's resolve; as for men, they may live and be slaves.

The rebels' first target was Camulodunum modern Colchester , the former Trinovantian capital and, at that time, a Roman colonia. The Roman veterans who had been settled there had mistreated the locals, and a temple to the former emperor Claudius had been erected there at local expense, making the city a focus for resentment. The Roman inhabitants sought reinforcements from the procurator, Catus Decianus, but he sent only two hundred auxiliary troops.

Boudica's army fell on the poorly defended city and destroyed it, besieging the last defenders in the temple for two days before it fell. A bronze statue to the emperor Nero , which probably stood in front of the temple, was decapitated and its head taken as a trophy by Boudica's army [26] Archaeologists have shown that the city was methodically demolished. The infantry with him were all killed — only the commander and some of his cavalry escaped.

Cerialis escaped with some cavalry into the camp, and was saved by its fortifications. When news of the rebellion reached Suetonius, he hurried along Watling Street through hostile territory to Londinium. Londinium was a relatively new settlement, founded after the conquest of AD 43, but it had grown to be a thriving commercial centre with a population of traders, and, probably, Roman officials. Suetonius considered giving battle there, but considering his lack of numbers and chastened by Petillius's defeat, decided to sacrifice the city to save the province.

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Alarmed by this disaster and by the fury of the province which he had goaded into war by his rapacity, the procurator Catus crossed over into Gaul. Suetonius, however, with wonderful resolution, marched amidst a hostile population to Londinium, which, though undistinguished by the name of a colony, was much frequented by a number of merchants and trading vessels.

Uncertain whether he should choose it as a seat of war, as he looked round on his scanty force of soldiers, and remembered with what a serious warning the rashness of Petillius had been punished, he resolved to save the province at the cost of a single town. Nor did the tears and weeping of the people, as they implored his aid, deter him from giving the signal of departure and receiving into his army all who would go with him. Those who were chained to the spot by the weakness of their sex, or the infirmity of age, or the attractions of the place, were cut off by the enemy.


Londinium was abandoned to the rebels, who burnt it down, torturing and killing anyone who had not evacuated with Suetonius. Archaeology shows a thick red layer of burnt debris covering coins and pottery dating before AD 60 within the bounds of Roman Londinium; [30] while Roman-era skulls found in the Walbrook in may have been victims of the rebels.

In the three settlements destroyed, between seventy and eighty thousand people are said to have been killed. Tacitus says that the Britons had no interest in taking or selling prisoners, only in slaughter by gibbet , fire, or cross. While Boudica's army continued their assault in Verulamium St. Albans , Suetonius regrouped his forces. Dio says that, even if they were lined up one deep, they would not have extended the length of Boudica's line. By now the rebel forces were said to have numbered ,—, Boudica exhorted her troops from her chariot , her daughters beside her.

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Tacitus records her giving a short speech in which she presents herself not as an aristocrat avenging her lost wealth, but as an ordinary person, avenging her lost freedom, her battered body, and the abused chastity of her daughters. She said their cause was just, and the deities were on their side; the one legion that had dared to face them had been destroyed. She, a woman, was resolved to win or die; if the men wanted to live in slavery, that was their choice.

At first, the legionaries stood motionless, keeping to the defile as a natural protection: then, when the closer advance of the enemy had enabled them to exhaust their missiles with certitude of aim, they dashed forward in a wedge-like formation. The auxiliaries charged in the same style; and the cavalry, with lances extended, broke a way through any parties of resolute men whom they encountered.

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The remainder took to flight, although escape was difficult, as the cordon of wagons had blocked the outlets. The troops gave no quarter even to the women: the baggage animals themselves had been speared and added to the pile of bodies. The glory won in the course of the day was remarkable, and equal to that of our older victories: for, by some accounts, little less than eighty thousand Britons fell, at a cost of some four hundred Romans killed and a not much greater number of wounded.

Boudica ended her days by poison; while Poenius Postumus , camp-prefect of the second legion, informed of the exploits of the men of the fourteenth and twentieth, and conscious that he had cheated his own corps of a share in the honours and had violated the rules of the service by ignoring the orders of his commander, ran his sword through his body.

Boudica Iron Age Warrior Queen

According to Tacitus in his Annals , Boudica poisoned herself, though in the Agricola which was written almost twenty years before the Annals he mentions nothing of suicide and attributes the end of the revolt to socordia "indolence" ; Dio says she fell sick and died and then was given a lavish burial. Suetonius conducted punitive operations, but criticism by Classicianus led to an investigation headed by Nero 's freedman Polyclitus. The location of Boudica's defeat is unknown.

Since the Renaissance she has been seen as harridan, patriot, freedom fighter and feminist, written about in plays and novels, painted and sculpted, and recruited to many causes. She remains a tragic, yet inspirational, figure of unending interest. Since I first heard of Boudica, I've been fascinated by her tragic story: wronged queen, vengeful mother, freedom fighter for her people, warrior queen who came this close to throwing the mighty Roman Leer comentario completo. It's not a very long book, just over pages, I believe.

I didn't make it through the amount of information about things we apparently don't know. It's amazing how someone can write a book about a Christina Unwin is a graduate in archaeology from University College London, a postgraduate in design from the London College of Printing and works as a freelance graphic designer, illustrator and exhibition designer working on a wide range of different projects.

Christina Unwin is a graphic designer, illustrator and archaeologist.