Boudica ( meaning Victory ) also known as Boadicea or Buddug in Welsh was the queen of the British Iceni tribe. This was a Celtic tribe that led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire. The Queen’s brutal revenge spree made the Romans tremble at the mere whisper of her name. She killed 70.000 Romans and remains to this day one of the most impressive figures in history.
Boudica’s husband, Prasutagus, was the leader of the Iceni tribe. After the Romans conquered southern England in AD 43 he was allowed to continue as King and rule as the Romans’ ally. At his death, he left the rule of the tribe jointly to his daughters and the Roman Emperor. However, the Romans ignored his will and the kingdom was annexed, as if conquered. Boudica was flogged and her daughters raped, while the Romans took control of all their lands and possessions.
The Britons were already resentful of the Roman occupation. These events were the last drop. Boudica started an uprising and members of other tribes joined her. Her warriors successfully fought and defeated the Romans in three separate occasions at Colchester – the capital of Roman Britain -, London and St. Albans. In the end she was defeated by a Roman army led by Caius Suetonius Paullinus in the Battle of Watling Street. After that defeat, the Iceni tribe dispersed, and many Britons were killed or taken into slavery.
For a long period of time, Boudica was forgotten. By the Middle Ages her name had all but disappeared from history. It wasn’t until the Renaissance period, when her story was published in the works of Polydore Vergil and Raphael Holinshed, that she was remembered. However, it was during the Victorian Period that her name took on legendary proportions due to the fact that Queen Victoria had come to be likened to her.
Do you know other impressive Warrior Queens such as Boudica?