Facts About Boudicca, Queen of the British Iceni Tribe

Here are some facts and interesting pieces of information about Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni tribe, who led a revolt against the Romans in Britain.

  • Boudicca was the wife of Prasutagus, the ruler of the Iceni tribe. They were based in the region of Britain now called East Anglia.

  • When the Romans settled in the south of England in 43 AD, they made an agreement with Prasutagus that he would be allowed to continue as ruler of the Iceni.
  • However, when Prasutagus died, the Roman attitude to the Iceni people changed. The Romans took property belonging to the most importnat Iceni tribesmen and they had Boudicca whipped.
  • In about 60 AD, Gaius Suetonius Paullinus, the Roman governor, was called upon to lead an a Roman army in North Wales. While he was away, the Iceni tribe, led by Boudicca, rebelled against their Roman rulers. Several other tribes – such as the Trinovantes – joined the fight.
  • The Iceni warriors managed to destroy Camulodunum (Colchester) they also defeated the Roman IX Legion.
  • Hearing the news, Paullinus rushed back from Wales and set about evacuating Londinium (London). He guessed (correctly) that it would be the Britons next target.
  • Boudicca and her army destroyed Londinium and then attacked Verulamium (St Albans), destroying that city too.
  • Some people believe that more than 70,000 people were killed in the attacks on Camulodunum, Londinium and Verulamium.
  • The Roman army in Britain regrouped in the Midlands and finally defeated the Britons in the Battle of Watling Street.
  • It is not clear what exactly happened to Boudicca. Some people say she killed herself with poison when she realised she had lost the battle. Others say that she fell ill and died.
  • People have referred to Boudicca in lots of different ways over the years. She has been known as: Bunduca, Boadicea, Bodicca, Boudica, Boudiga and Boudica, to name but a few.
  • Tacitus, the Roman historian, said that Boudicca had reddish-brown hair that hung below her waist, and she wore a large golden necklace.
  • It is said that Boudicca worshipped Andraste, an old Bristish goddess of victory.
  • The exact location of Boudicca’s defeat is not known. Historians have suggested that it is in the Midlands, somewhere along the Roman road, Watling Street.
  • The story of Boudicca was almost completely forgotten during the Middle Ages. However, she became famous again in Victorian times, as Queen Victoria was keen to be associated with such a stubborn and brave warrior.
  • Alfred Lord Tennyson, the Victorian poet, wrote a poem called Boadicea, and Prince Albert commissioned Thomas Thornycroft to create a statue of Boudicca and her daughters riding a war chariot. The sculpture was finished in 1905 and it is situated close to the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Bridge.
  •  It has been suggested that Queen Boudicca’s body is buried underneath the area between platform 9 and 10 in King’s Cross Station. This is not supported by any historical evidence, so it’s probably just a myth.

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