• [12] Events leading to the revolt On his death in AD 60/61, Prasutagus made his two daughters as well as the Roman Emperor Nero his heirs.

  • The illustration of Boudica by Robert Havell in Charles Hamilton Smith’s The Costume of the Original Inhabitants of the British Islands from the Earliest Periods to the Sixth
    Century (1815) was an early attempt to depict her in an historically accurate way.

  • Historical sources The armed uprising Boudica led against the Roman Empire is referred to in four works from classical antiquity written by three Roman historians: the Agricola
    (c. 98) and Annals (c. 110s) by Tacitus;[1] a mention of the uprising by Suetonius in his Lives of the Caesars (121);[2] and the longest account, a detailed description of the revolt contained within Cassius Dio’s history of the Empire (c. 202
    – c. 235).

  • ‘Victorious Woman’, known in Latin chronicles as Boadicea or Boudicea, and in Welsh as Buddug (Welsh pronunciation: [bɨðɨɡ])), was a queen of the ancient British Iceni tribe,
    who led a failed uprising against the conquering forces of the Roman Empire in AD 60 or 61.

  • [4][5] Both Tacitus and Dio give an account of battle-speeches given by Boudica, though it is thought that her words were never recorded during her life.

  • [13] The speech includes a reminder to her allies the Trinovantes about how much better their life was before Roman occupation, stressing that wealth cannot be enjoyed under
    slavery and placing the blame upon herself for not expelling the Romans as they had done when Julius Caesar had come for their land.

  • Upon hearing of the revolt, the Roman governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus hurried from the island of Mona (modern Anglesey) to Londinium, the 20-year-old commercial settlement
    that was the rebels’ next target.

  • [17] Dio claimed that Boudica called upon the British goddess of victory Andraste to aid her army.

  • [46] Cowper’s 1782 poem Boadicea: An Ode was the most notable literary work to champion the resistance of the Britons, and helped to project British ideas of imperial expansion.

  • [13] These abuses are not mentioned in Dio’s account, who instead cites three different causes for the rebellion: the recalling of loans that were given to the Britons by
    Seneca; Decianus Catus’s confiscation of money formerly loaned to the Britons by the Emperor Claudius; and Boudica’s own entreaties.

  • There is no evidence for this and it is probably a post-World War II invention.

  • [27] Name Boudica may have been an honorific title,[28] in which case the name that she was known by during most of her life is unknown.

  • Among the rest of mankind death frees even those who are in slavery to others; only in the case of the Romans do the very dead remain alive for their profit.

  • Much is lost and his account of Boudica only survives in the epitome of an 11th century Byzantine monk, John Xiphilinus.

  • —Part of a speech Cassius Dio gives Boudica[14] The Romans’ next actions were described by Tacitus, who detailed pillaging of the countryside, the ransacking of the king’s
    household, and the brutal treatment of Boudica and her daughters.

  • [37][39] A narrative by the Florentine scholar Petruccio Ubaldini in The Lives of the Noble Ladies of the Kingdom of England and Scotland (1591) includes two female characters,
    ‘Voadicia’ and ‘Bunduica’, both based on Boudica.

  • And why should the Romans be expected to display moderation as time goes on, when they have behaved toward us in this fashion at the very outset, when all men show consideration
    even for the beasts they have newly captured?”

  • [3] According to Tacitus, the Britons had no interest in taking the Roman population as prisoners, only in slaughter by “gibbet, fire, or cross”.

  • In it, he demonstrates his knowledge of a female leader whom he describes as a “treacherous lioness” who “butchered the governors who had been left to give fuller voice and
    strength to the endeavours of Roman rule.

  • [1][3][6] Although imaginary, these speeches, designed to provide a comparison for readers of the antagonists’ demands and approaches to war, and to portray the Romans as
    morally superior to their enemy, helped create an image of patriotism that turned Boudica into a legendary figure.

  • [31] William Cowper used this spelling in his poem Boadicea, an Ode (1782), a work whose impact resulted in Boudica’s reinvention as a British imperialistic champion.

  • She appears as character in A Pageant of Great Women written by Cicely Hamilton, which opened at the Scala Theatre, London, in November 1909 before a national tour, and she
    was described in a 1909 pamphlet as “the eternal feminine… the guardian of the hearth, the avenger of its wrongs upon the defacer and the despoiler”.

  • [44] Depiction during the 18th and 19th centuries[edit] The statue Boadicea and Her Daughters near Westminster Pier, London During the late 18th century, Boudica was used
    to develop ideas of English nationhood.

  • [18] Once the revolt had begun, the only Roman troops available to provide assistance, aside from the few within the colony, were 200 auxiliaries located in London, who were
    not equipped to fight Boudica’s army.

  • Along with the second ‘c’ becoming an ‘e,’ an ‘a’ appeared in place of the ‘u’, which produced the medieval (and most common) version of the name, Boadicea.

  • [45] Illustrations of Boudica during this period—such as in Edward Barnard’s New, Complete and Authentic History of England (1790) and the drawing by Thomas Stothard of the
    queen as a classical heroine—lacked historical accuracy.

  • [12] The Roman army was heavily outnumbered — according to Dio the rebels numbered 230,000— but Boudica’s army was crushed, and according to Tacitus, neither the women nor
    the animals were spared.

  • The crisis of 60/61 caused Nero to consider withdrawing all his imperial forces from Britain, but Suetonius’s victory over Boudica confirmed Roman control of the province.

  • Henty, Beric, the Briton (1893) 20th century – present[edit] Boudica was once thought to have been buried at a place which lies now between platforms 9 and 10 in King’s Cross
    station in London.

  • [40] The English poet Edmund Spenser used the story of Boudica in his poem The Ruines of Time, involving a story about a British heroine he called ‘Bunduca’.

  • [37] From the 1570s to the 1590s, when Elizabeth I’s England was at war with Spain, Boudica proved to be a valuable asset for the English.

  • The willingness of the barbarians to sacrifice a higher quality of living under the Romans in exchange for their freedom and personal liberty was an important part of what
    Dio considered to be motivation for the rebellions.

  • [29][33] The true spelling was totally obscured when Boadicea first appeared in around the 17th century.

  • [41] A variation of this name was used in the Jacobean play Bonduca (1612), a tragicomedy that most scholars agree was written by John Fletcher, in which one of the characters
    was Boudica.

  • He amassed an army of almost 10,000 men at an unidentified location, and took a stand in a defile with a wood behind.

  • Interest in these events was revived in the English Renaissance and led to Boudica’s fame in the Victorian era and as a cultural symbol in Britain.

  • [55] A statue of Boudica in the Marble Hall at Cardiff City Hall was among those unveiled by David Lloyd George in 1916, though the choice had gained little support in a public

  • [15] A Roman temple had been erected there to Claudius, at great expense to the local population.

  • The rebels also sacked the municipium of Verulamium (modern St Albans),[22][23] north-west of London, though the extent of its destruction is unclear.

  • Tacitus states that Boudica poisoned herself; Dio says she fell sick and died, after which she was given a lavish burial.


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Photo credit:’]