History's HEROES? - 60 or 61


Who was she?

Things you may not know about Boudica

Boudica was born into an aristocratic family, where she learned how to fight. More
The name Boudica probably derives from the Celtic word 'bouda' meaning victory. More
She was tall, of striking appearance and intelligent. More
She liked to wear jewellery. More
She was a wealthy woman and may have enjoyed some of the trappings of Roman life. More
Roman law allowed inheritance only through the male line, in conflict with Celtic practices known to Boudica. More
On Boudica's approach to Camulodunum (Colchester) a statue of victory fell. More
Nobody knows precisely where her last battle was. More
No one knows what happened to Boudica or her daughters after the battle. More
Nobody knows where she was buried. More
Boudica's uprising so shook the emperor Nero that he nearly ordered the withdrawal from Britain. More
Boudica was forgotten during the Middle Ages but became legendary in Elizabethan and Victorian times. More
Queen Victoria was said to be her namesake. More
Prince Albert commissioned a large bronze statue of Boudica which guards Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament. More
Archaeological evidence of the attack on the cities can still be seen today. More

Boudica in brief

I was whipped by the Romans when they tried to take our lands — and now I am fighting for my freedom. Think how many of us are fighting and why. We must win this battle or die. Let the men live as slaves if they want. I will not.

Boudica is a legendary leader who inspired her people to rebel against the Romans when they did not honour her husband's will.

Boudica was queen of the Iceni during the early Roman occupation of Britain. However when her husband Prasutagus died and left half of his property and lands to their two daughters, and the other half to Rome, the Romans didn't respect his will and took control of all the land and possessions. They publicly flogged Boudica and dishonoured her daughters, inciting her to rebellion and vengeance.

Her people, who had previously been allies of the Romans, were also badly treated and they were willing to join forces with other rebellious Celtic tribes under her leadership. She led them to victory on three occasions, when they ransacked and destroyed Colchester, London and St. Albans. But, despite overwhelming numbers, the Britons lost the crucial Battle of Watling Street to the Romans. After the battle, the remaining Iceni dispersed or were captured and taken into slavery.

As a result of the defeat, the Romans occupied Britain for over 350 years. The Romans rebuilt and reinforced their settlements but they also took greater care in dealing with the British tribes than before and were maybe more respectful.

Boudica Picture Gallery

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