The story of Queen Boudica is a historical fact; told as a folk tale by the Britons and documented by Roman historians like Tacitus, Cassius Dio, and other historians. The tale portrays her as an ancient British Queen who led her people in a bloodletting revolt against Rome between AD 60 and 61. The revolts cost her not less than 80,000 souls of faithful tribesmen and women with their families while it only scratched off about 400 souls of the Roman forces.
The tale of this Iceni Queen has generated different positions and opinions over the centuries past. She has been depicted as a stubborn, unruly queen who was highly unstable while other schools of thoughts praised her bravery for standing up for herself, her daughters and her people. She was able to graft various tribes together for the common goal of removing the Roman taskmaster from power in Britain Although, the fight was faulted, at least she did her best as a mother hen to fight for all she did love.
Biography of Queen Boudica
Queen Boudica was recorded to have been born around the 30AD, in Camulodunum, and has been described as a woman with a very good height advantage, long flowing light brown hair, that got to her waist and also one that had royal blood running in her veins.
She grew up the eastern part of the England, where she met and married King Prasutagus. Prasutagus was king to an ancient Celtic tribe known as Iceni, the eastern part of England, who the Roman Empire (being the world power of those days) allowed to keep his kingdom after southern Britain was crushed by Roman conquerors from AD 43. Rome had subdued most of the Celtic tribes and Prasutagus was allowed independence as long as he and his people remained Roman allies.
However, things took a different turn when Prasutagus died and bequeathed half his wealth and property to the Roman Emperor in a bid to secure his family and people and the other half to his daughters because he no son to succeed him. The deceased king’s will was not upheld by the Romans who seized his estate, plundered his chiefs, humiliated his wife, Boudica by publicly flogging her and raping his two daughters.
All hell broke out as she quickly rallied round seeking support from other tribes whose resentment towards the Romans for the dastardly acts against the royal household and the tribes had reached the peak. The move set them on a warpath as they gave her their unflinching support for the course. Hence, a revolution was born.
With the support of the Trinovantes and other tribes, who shared a common hatred for the Romans, the Britons formed a militia of over 100,000 soldiers to stage a full-scale uprising led by their vengeful warrior, Queen Boudica. Thus, she began a revolt that led to the massacre of thousands of Romans and Britons in AD 61.
Facts About The Uprising
1. The only account of Queen Boudicca was recorded a hundred years after the events had taken place and they were done by two historians – Tacitus and Dio Cassius – who were of Roman descent. Some of the accounts are conflicting and was intended for a Roman audience.
2. The Roman Governor of Britain, as of the time of the event was Gaius Suetonius Paulinus who was absent when the uprising began. It was not clearly stated if it was he who ordered the pillage of king Prasutagus and his tribe chiefs’ land and properties, the humiliation of his widow and the raping of his two daughters. He was away fighting the Welsh in the north along with the main force of the Roman Legion.
3. The British rebel army had 3 successful raids as they attacked and targeted Roman colonies, which were poorly defended and inhabited by Roman veterans. First, they took out Camulodonium, the first capital and an important town of the Roman province, which is referred to as Colchester today. The city had a scanty force of barely 200 soldiers guarding it, these were outnumbered and soundly defeated by the Brits.
When the 9th Legion under the command of Quintus Petillius Cerialis tried to rescue the city, they were ambushed and wiped out as well. Next, the British army overran Londonium (now known as London) which was already abandoned by its Roman occupants. Women and children left by the fleeing Romans where shown no mercy as they were slaughtered, impaled on stakes and hacked to pieces by the rebels. The city of Verulamium was also sacked and destroyed with fire.
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Defeat and Death Of the Queen Boudica
Gaius Suetonius Paulinus eventually ended the uprising by defeating Boudica’s army in what was described as the Battle of Watling Street. Despite being outnumbered (the Britons had swelled to well over 200,000 and the Romans barely 10,000), the Romans stood their ground and overcame the invading army with the superior battle formation and fighting technique. They overwhelmed the initial wave of the Briton army with missiles of javelin and crushed the remainder who had unwittingly blocked their escape route, from both sides with a wedge-like formation. Queen Boudica eventually could not overthrow the Romans, instead, she ended up perishing.
There are two different accounts on how Queen Boudica died. First, it was recorded that she poisoned herself to death to avoid being captured by the Romans as she feared what they may subject her to. On the other hand, it was alleged, that she had died of an illness she had contracted. She has been posthumously remembered and her statues constructed by various artists and the theatre and plays as well as books have been written about her acts.
The English version of her exploits was first published and released by a historian, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth in 1534 which she was named Voadicea, one of many interpretations of the name, Boudica. Till date, nothing was recorded about the whereabouts of her two daughters after the war.