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The Boudicca Chapters
Warrior Queen to her people, her tribe, her family and most importantly herself...
CHAPTER 1: Who was Boudicca and how did life began for her?
In stature she was very tall, in appearance most terrifying, in the glance of her eye most fierce, and her voice was harsh; a great mass of the tawniest hair fell to her hips.
- Cassius Dio, Roman historian
Boudicca is one of Britain's greatest heroines who was a freedom fighter who rebelled against the Roman government. She was Queen to the Celts and truly was one of history's most fiercest and passionate warrior queens. However, before she became Queen, Boudicca was a simple girl of royal descent who was estimated by historians to be born in 25-30 AD in Colchester, South East England. Details concerning Boudicca's upbringing are severely limited as the only primary evidence that exists is by two Roman historians by the names of Tactitus and Dio Cassius.
Map of the Iceni and surrounding Celtic tribes
Going on the limited information and sources provided by these two historians Boudicca was said to have grown up in a traditional Celtic Roundhouse. When Boudicca was older (estimated to be 7 years old by historians) she was moved and lived with a second family until she was 14 years old. It was here she was taught the history of the Celts and her tribe, traditions, culture and religion. It was also a place where she attended warrior school and learned many new skills such as how to use a sword, spear and shield and how to be sociable.
After she returned home Boudicca then married King Prasutagus of the Iceni tribe in 43-45 AD and had two healthy daughters. Life was all good for a while until 60 AD when King Prasutagus passed away. This lead to a series of unfortunate events which include the Roman's taking over King Prasutagus's kingdom and wealth, the rape and torture of Boudicca and her two daughters and was even the catalyst which would serve to be Boudicca's influence for revenge and rebellion against the Roman empire.
CHAPTER 2: What did she do and achieve?
Nothing is safe from Roman pride and arrogance. They will deface the sacred and will deflower our virgins. Win the battle or perish, that is
what I, a woman, will do.
— Boudicca, according to Tacitus
Boudicca is known for being a great heroine who lead a major uprising army against the occupying Roman forces during 60-62 AD. This lead to Boudicca achieving a fairer and happier life for all of the Celtic tribes and even posing as an early feminist symbol during Queen Elizabeth I's reign.
But how did this all happen? Well during 60 or 61 AD ,while the current Roman Governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, was leading a campaign against the island of Monain, the Iceni conspired with their neighbours the Trinovantes, amongst others, to revolt against the Romans. Boudicca was chosen as their leader who was already passionate about protecting her tribe, territory and people due to the Romans taking her late husband Prastugus's wealth, kingdom and for the rape and torture of herself and two daughters. In Tactius's own words '
Kingdom and household alike were plundered like prizes of war.... The Chieftains of the Iceni were deprived of their family estates as if the whole country had been handed over to the Romans. The king's own relatives were treated like slaves.'
Boudicca, who was now armed with her 100,000 men army first a
Boudicca's and Paulinius's army movements
ttacked Camulodunum (now called Colchester) which was the where the Romans had their main centre of rule. Archaeological evidence done by historians reveals that the city of Camulodunum was burnt to the ground in a methodical way which reveals to present historians that Boudicca was an intelligible and calculated warrior and leader who planned her attacks and succeeded in such a way that often there were no survivors.
The rebel’s next assault was on the largest, booming city in Britain called Londinium (now London), where 25,000 inhabitants who had not fled already were killed. Archaeology done recently by historians also once again shows a thick red layer of burnt debris covering coins and pottery dating before 60 AD within the bounds of the Roman city which shows the true extent the destruction caused.
By now news of the rebellion had long reached Suetonius who had abandoned Londinium strategically and was now gathering no haste in assembling his troops. With 2 Roman cities destroyed Boudicca and her army then marched on to Verulamium (now St.Albans), which was a city largely populated by Britons who had cooperated with the Romans. However since they associated with the Romans they were seen as a threat to the rebel army and the inhabitants of Verulamium were thus killed as their city was destroyed.
Boudicca's desire for a country free of Rom
ans was fast becoming a reality — or so she sadly thought.
CHAPTER 3: Boudicca's unfortunate death
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.
An artist depiction of Boudicca
— Boudicca's last speech, as recorded by Dio Cassius
After the destruction of 3 whole cities Boudicca’s army, now containing 230,000 Briton men were ready to face the Roman governor Paulinius and his pitiful 10,000 man army. The exact location of the site of the final battle are unknown to this date however many historians have speculated and favoured a site in the West Midlands along a Roman road now known as Watling Street.
Although vastly outnumbering the enemy Boudicca’s army faced an uphill battle and were already prior to the attack, hungry and exhausted. There was also lack of manoeuvrability within the British forces which put Boudicca’s army at a disadvantage against the Romans who were skilled at open combat due to their superior equipment and discipline. These collective factors led to the unfortunate downfall of Boudicca’s army with the Roman army supposedly killing 80,000 of Boudicca’s men in the battle compared to their own loss of 400 men.
After the downfall of Boudicca’s army there are many theories about what happened next. Many historians including Tactius have theorised that after the defeat of the rebel army Boudicca fled back to her tribe with her two daughters and drank 'hemlock' (a poisonous plant) with them to evade capture from the Roman Empire. However there are also other theories by Dio which speculate that Boudicca, the great Iceni queen died of illness. Though the exact cause of her death may be disputed she was given a lavish burial fitting of a revered heroine.
Timeline of Boudicca's life (Est. 25/30AD to Est.61/62 AD)
CHAPTER 4: Why did Boudicca make history? What was her legacy and impact upon it?
Boudicca, the great warrior queen remembered for her passionate attempts to free herself and her tribe from the Roman empire had a lasting impact upon many aspects of history. Firstly the rebellion was a crucial moment in early British history as a result of it the Romans made certain that their installations were secure and that the Briton population never more posed a threat. A lessening of some of the difficult demands of their colonial rule were also lessened by the Roman officials which included a fairer system of taxation.
Boduicca, as depicted in the film 'Warrior Queen" (2003)
Boudicca has also served as a heroine and role model for early feminism and inspiration, especially during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I as historians and writers a like trumpeted the legacy of strong female leaders in the British Isles past. As well as that she has left a legacy of being viewed as an icon of nation resistance for the British and serving as an important cultural symbol.
This warrior queen made history for a reason, she achieved major hurdles and fought for her country, for her people and more importantly for herself. Although she lost the final battle she never let the Romans conquer her.
Today her lasting impact can be seen through her statue located outside the House of Parliament on Westminster Bridge, London. This statue is Boudicca's legacy and it continues to give the people of the 21st century inspiration, hope and serve as propaganda. She is first and foremost Britain's first heroine and will continue to be seen and aspired as by many woman and maybe even men.
CHAPTER 5: Prim
ary source analysis
By Tacitus (Written in AD 110-120)
We British are used to
women commanders in war; I am descended from mighty men! But I am not fighting for my kingdom and wealth now. I am fighting as an ordinary person for my lost freedom, my bruised body, and my outraged daughters.... Consider how many of you are fighting
— and why! Then
Part of The Annals manuscript
you will win this battle, or perish. That is what I, a woman, plan to do!— let the men live in slavery if they will.
— Boudicca, according to Tacitus,
This source can specifically reveal to historians what Boudicca was feeling at the time she was rounding up soldiers. It also shows us her reasons for becoming so enraged at the Romans and fighting them with a passionate scorn that only a women’s fury could bring. As explained in the text Boudicca is enraged and fighting for many reasons which include her lost freedom, bruised body and outraged daughters. Boudicca is also talking about being an 'ordinary person' while fighting which may be a reference to her being of royal descent and can reveal to historians that she was of noble and royal descent. This source can also show historians that the British people gave equal rights to the British women and had no qualms about accepting Boudicca as their leader. However saying that as we go on in the source Boudicca exclaims "That is what I, a woman, plan to do!" which may once again be a reference to how the Romans treated women unequally and not at all with equal rights.
Dio's Roman History VIII
, By Cassius Dio, a Roman Historian (153 AD-230 AD)
In stature she was very tall, in appearance most terrifying, in the glance of her eye most fierce, and her voice was harsh; a great mass of the tawniest hair fell to her hips; around her neck was a large
; and she wore a tunic of divers colours over which a thick mantle was fastened with a brooch. This was her invariable attire."
Part of Cassius Dio's Roman History VIII manuscript
This source can reveal to many historians and people about how Boudicca was dressed and what her appearance was. As said in the text Boudicca was a tall, intimidating women who had a great mass of 'tawny' hair which fell to her hips. This source an also show us what kind of clothing was worn at this period of time and even divulge to historians about what kind of clothing the Celts wore. Going by the text we can estimate and maybe confirm that Boudicca came from a well off family as she is said to be wearing a large golden necklace which is often seen as a sign of wealth. Dio also says in this source that this was Boudicca's 'invariable attire' which must then mean that either Boudicca rarely changed her clothes or that she wore something similar to this on an everyday basis. This description of Boudicca can also reveal to historians that Boudicca had a menacing and intimidating look and was well worthy of the warrior queen stasis she has today.
Dio's Roman History VIII
Cassius Dio, a Roman historian (153 AD-230 AD)
"...a terrible disaster occurred in Britain. Two cities were sacked, eighty thousand of the Romans and of their allies perished, and the island was lost to Rome. Moreover, all this ruin was brought upon the Romans by a woman, a fact which in itself caused them the greatest shame....But the person who was chiefly instrumental in rousing the natives and persuading them to fight the Romans, the person who was thought worthy to be their leader and who directed the conduct of the entire war, was Buduica, a Briton woman of the royal family and possessed of greater intelligence than often belongs to women...."
This source can reveal many things about Boudicca's life and final moments to historians. Firstly in the text it is revealed the number of Romans and cities which were destroyed which can reveal how strong Boudicca's rebel army was. Moreover it can also tell us that Boduicca was a member of the royal family and was thought to be intellectual by the Romans. In the source b
y Dio, it also explains how the Romans felt great shame in being beaten by a leader who was a women, this shows us that during this time the attitudes towards women were very negative as they were thought as unequals and not as superior to men, and certainly not capable of leading a rebel army. Once again the text it is shown once again that the although the Romans dismissed Boudicca of being worthy to lead they thought she was "possessed of greater intelligence than often belongs to women..." which reveals that the Romans knew who they were dealing with, they know that Boudicca and her army were not to be taken lightly.
CHAPTER 6: Discussion- What do these sources reveal about Boudicca?
Gathering from all the information from these sources can reveal that both historians Dio and Tacitus thought Boudicca to be 'possessed of great intelligence' and be fit to lead such an army. In source 2 and 3 the perspective of Boudicca is one of a women who is filled with rage and anger while also having an terrifying and intimidating appearance. In Source 1 there is also the same perspective of a women who is filled with such fury and anger that she is willing to risk her own life to fight for justice. In all 3 sources there is not much difference between the perspectives of all of them. All 3 give the same appearance and perspective of a vengeful queen leading her large rebel army to destroy 3 cities and over 80,000 Roman people in a matter of 1-2 years. Source 1 and 3 also give reference to the prejudice against women leading armies. In Source 1 Boudicca says "We British commanders are used to woman commanders in war" and goes on to say "This is what I, a woman, will do!" which gives the impression that the Celts and British gave equal rights to woman and let them command in war. In Source 3 however Dio writes "Moreover, all this ruin was brought upon the Romans by a woman, a fact in itself caused them the greatest of shame" which gives us the perspective that the Romans did not allow women to lead in wars and certainly did not think very much of Boudicca at all, until she beat them of course. Overall all these 3 sources gives us the perspective that Boudicca was a strong, intimidating woman who lead her army methodically and was able to put up a great fight against the Roman empire.
CHAPTER 7: Picture Gallery of the warrior queen
NOTE: There is limited visual primary evidence of Boudicca due to the only sources being of written works of Dio and Tacitus. These only give a brief description of what Boudicca may have looked like and thus have created a wide array of secondary sources which are all artist depictions.
Boudicca blowing a Celtic horn, artist depiction
Boudicca talking to her people, artist depiction
Boudicca's statue in Westminister Pier, London
Boudicca leading her army, artist depiction
A doll of Boudicca, artist depiction
Boudicca at mounted on her house ready to face the final battle, artist depiction
Boudicca looking like a true warrior queen, artist depiction
Boudicca celebrating with her army, artist depiction
CHAPTER 9: Activities about Boudicca
Figure out the Find-a-word to find the answer to the question!
What does the name 'Boudicca' mean?
V I C T O R Y B Q S I K U O T
Z R K V I F O N U U N H V H E
L K N P V U I N E I E K H U B
W C O H D A U J E T C T U C I
Y Q P I T K D Z N C I D R D R
C T C I D D E Q N A B G A L T
H C R A S W V G D T S R E O D
A B A I V J G I B K C R T S H
P I B I P E O I K P I E S T A
I L T U L Y Y H C K T Q N E Y
V C D T H D C K W L L J A J X
B Q T K H H V J C F E Q M T Z
Q A F O I R G E F A C J O Q W
B B H A K S Y G L Z J V R N H
V J K O P S R B M X P Y B Z L
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
CROSS WORD PUZZLER
Think your good at cross words? Try this one!
2. Name the historian who wrote The Annals.
4. Finish this nickname of Boudicca's, ------- Queen
8. Who was Boudica's husband?
9. Which author had a book called Roman History VIII?
10. Who did the Iceni join forces with?
11. What is the name of Boudicca's tribe?
13. What is the plant Boudicca used to poison herself with?
1. Who did Boudicca rebel against?
3. Who was Boudicca Queen of?
5. Finish this sentence, Boudicca's daughters were _ _ _ _ _
6. What Pier is Boudicca's statue located at?
7. Name the first city that Boudicca's army attakced.
12. Where was Boudicca born?
Fill in the blanks to complete the passage!
- Poison -Britain's -Intelligent - 100,000 -Londinium -Fierce - Roman empire -10,000 - Verulamium - Camulodunum -Estimated -Watling street - Unknown
How much do you remember?
Boudicca survived the final battle and went on to have a happy life. (T/F)
Name the place of Boudicca's birth.
Boudicca's army had 100, 000 men in it. (T/F)
Prasutagus was not the leader of the Roman Empire. (T/F)
When was Boudicca's estimated death?
Where is the statue of Boudicca located?
Was Boudicca later considered a symbol for early feminism?
When and why did Boudicca gain more reputation?
Why is there so little primary evidence of Boudicca today?
Name the two primary historians who have written about Boudicca. Also name the books she is mentioned in.
Oh no! Boudicca's army has stumbled into a dead end, can you help them get out and continue on their journey?
Unscramble the tiles to reveal a secret message!
ANSWERS TO THE ACTIVITIES
The answer is 'victory'.
Boudicca was a
leader who rebelled greatly against the
. She was Queen of the
and lead them on to destroy
whole Roman cities. These cities included
. Boudicca had a
man army who went up against the Roman's pitiful
man army. The final battle's location to this date is
it to be on a street called
. The result was unfortunate as Boudicca lost greatly but evaded capture by supposedly drinking
. Boudicca will always be remembered as
AD 61 or 62
Westminister Pier, London
During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Due to writers and historians trumpeting the legacy's of strong female leaders
Due to the only primary evidence being for two Roman historians.
Cassius Dio, Dio's Roman History VIII and Tacitus, The Annals.
No answer, as there are many different ways to escape.
The secret message is: Boudicca is a warrior queen.
CHAPTER 9: Recommended Reading List
If you want to find out more about Boudicca you can follow up on the websites and books I used to gather all my information. Happy researching!
Kohout, Natalie. "Boudicca: What do we really know?". 2005. 'Miltary History Online'. Viewed 14/7/11
I found this website really helpful as it talked about Boudicca and the primary evidence that was available. It also gave me lots of dates and had an extensive bibliography and reference page! A great website to visit if you know the basics of Boudicca and want to go into more detail. It's also very useful in research and probably one of the best I used!
UNC. "Boudicca". 2000. 'UNC Celtic Catalogue'. Viewed on 14/7/11
Fantastic website to visit as firstly it was edu which meant that it could be trusted and it gave me a whole lot of information, quotes and even a bibliography to use for more further researching. Overall a great website that can be trusted!
Gifford, Katya. "Boudica". 1998. 'Humanities Web Website'. Ed. Katya Gifford.Viewed on 14/7/11
This website was pretty good as it gave me a bit of information of Boudicca and some more quotes I could use, however this only gives the basics of Boudicca's life, so check out others for more information first.
Lewis Johnson John. "Boudicca leads a rebellion against the Romans". 2001. 'About.com'. Viewed on 15/7/11
Once again a great website to use as it contained a English translation of Tacitus's The Annals. It was really well set out and easy to read and navigate, so in the end it was very useful to gain quotes and evidence from.
Wikpedia. "Boudica". 2011. 'Wikipedia website'. Viewed on 19/7/11
This website is really good if you want to get a brief understanding of the events in Boudicca's life. It contains a lot of information and has visual images as well which can contribute to a good understanding of all the information. However, since it is Wikipedia I advise caution in using it as although there is a lot of information remember to cross reference it with other websites (so to see if the info is correct) and to not use it as your main source of information.
Gilbert, Nick. "Boudicca- The Battle-axe of Britain". 2010. 'Heritage Key'. Viewed om 19/7/11
A fantastic blog piece about Boudicca done by an author called Nick Gilbert. Although it was biased it gave me heaps of information and was very useful. It even gave me a great map showing the rebel army's movements and gave me information that wasn't on other websites. So once again check for verification, but this website was very useful and a great one to start with.
Sens97. "How did Queen Boudica die?". 2011. 'Wikianswers'. Viewed on 25/7/11
I found this website quite helpful as it contained a lot of information about Boudicca that I could then compare with other websites so I could be sure if the information given was correct. Do not use this website by itself, do compare with others as although there is plenty of helpful information it is good to cross reference it with other sites to check that it is correct.
BBC. "Boudicca". 2007. 'BBC home". Viewed on 26/7/11
This website was in my opinion the best as not only did it contain plenty of information about Boudicca's whole life it also gave me information about her early life which was very helpful as prior to this I couldn't find any information. It also gave me quotes from Tactitus and Dio concerning Boudicca and was very well presented. This is a very good website to start on and if you want the facts.
Bizzikid. "Famous people from the past: Boudicca". 'Bizzikids'. Viewed on 29/7/11
Don't be fooled by the 'kids' part in the hyperlink, this website means business! It was really good as prior to finding it I felt like I had a lot of information thrown at me from other websites and I didn't really get it. This website helped me understand a lot of what was going on in Boudicca's life and how the rebellion took shape. It contains a good amount of information and is handy to have when researching other websites.
Green, M. Invaders and Settlers in Britain (Page 17). London, Folens Limited, 2004.
This book was quite helpful and good if you have some time to settle down and start reading about Boudicca. It gives a good overview and is helpful with understanding Boudicca, the Celtics and the rebellion. A good book to get started with!
I hope you have enjoyed looking at my Wikispace and learning about Boudicca, the passionate warrior Queen
For a final note I shall leave you with this quote:
'....you will see that in this battle you must conquer or die. This is a woman's resolve; as for men, they may live and be slaves, and captive, but I shall not.
By: Isha Bassi
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