Also spelled "Boadicea." She was an ancient British Queen in the first century. When her husband, the King of Iceni, died in AD 60, he left his property to his two daughters under the protection of the Roman Emperor Nero. Nero was expected to be a regent of sorts for the protection of the two young women. However, the Roman army took the province and looted and pillaged the villages. Boadicea promptly led an uprising against Roman rule, inciting the locals to burn major Roman towns and outposts, and, according to some reports, massacre tens of thousands of Romans and pro-Roman Britons. The uprising had some success at first, but eventually the Romans took back the province. Boadicea committed suicide by drinking poison.

The British warrior queen of the Iceni tribe that led a bloody revolt against the Roman occupying forces in the year 60 AD, that almost succeeded in expelling the Romans from the island.

Boudicca is simply the name given to her by the Roman historian Tacitus, although to Dio Cassius she was Buduica. Whether Boudicca or Buduica it would have been the Latinized version of her Brythonic Celtic name, and the convention has since been adopted that this would probably have been something similar to the name under which she is known to present day Welsh, that is Byddyg or literally 'Victory'.

Which raises the possibility that it was not her name at all, but either an honorific title or simply a misunderstanding by the Romans. It is not difficult to imagine the assembled British tribes chanting "Victory, Victory" before battle as their queen rode before them on her war chariot whilst the watching Romans simply got the wrong end of the stick.

Subsequent English historians have often anglicised the name to Boudicea or sometimes Boadicea, but Tacitus' Boudicca seems to be the accepted modern standard.

She was obviously an imposing woman of great personal charisma, Dio Cassius describes her as, "a British woman of the royal family and possessed of greater intelligence than often belongs to women". He also provided the only physical description we have of her when he wrote,

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 golden necklace; and she wore a tunic of diverse colours over which a thick mantle was fastened with a brooch.

The Boudiccan Revolt that she inspired and led was ultimately unsuccessful, ending as it did with the bloody massacre of the British tribes on the battlefield, as well as her own death (whether by her own hand or not) and as Dio Cassius "The British mourned her deeply and gave her a costly burial".

Boudicca has always retained a certain symbolic significance as the epitome of the 'strong woman' and she is often cited as almost a role model when discussing more modern examples such as Elizabeth I or even dear Margaret Thatcher.


Peter Salway Roman Britain(OUP, 1991)
Tacitus Annals 14 chapters 29 to 38 from
Dio Casius Roman History from Cassius_Dio/home.htm

Boudicca also is depicted, in statue form, on Westminster Bridge. The statue, unveiled in 1902, was sculpted by Sir William Hamo Thornycroft, though it was based on a design and model by W. H. Thornycrofts dad, Thomas Thornycroft.

(also Boudicea, Boadiccea, Boadicca...)
Among the Romans, Boudicca, the Killer Queen, was still a name to frighten children. In Londinium you could see the marks where the basilica had burned, and workmen digging foundations as the city grew sometimes found the bones of those who had tried to flee the bloodlust of the Iceni hordes.
-- Marion Zimmer Bradley, in The Forest House.

Celtic Warrior Queen, flaming-haired figure of vengeance, she was born around 30 CE. Boadicea may not be her birth name, but rather one given by history, a variant of Boudigga, the Celtic Goddess of Victory. We know nothing of her early life. She married Prasutagus, king of the Iceni Celts and bore two daughters.

The Iceni Celts of East Anglia had theoretically accepted Roman rule in 53 BCE, after conquest by Julius Caesar's armies. Roman rule had very little influence, however, until Claudius established a more permanent Roman presence in 43 CE. Prasutagus became a client-ruler for the Roman Empire, with the understanding (at least on his part) that his lands and monies would remain within in lineage. He died of illness in 61. The Romans, now under Nero, claimed Iceni hereditary lands, and demanded repayment of funds which had been given to their kingdom. Boadicea resisted; she was publicly flogged and her daughters were raped by Roman soldiers.

These events ignited a rebellion which, while short-lived, would prove one of the greatest military defeats in the history of the Roman Empire. Boadicea's exact role remains unknown. She and her daughters clearly travelled with the armies. Historians dispute whether or not she only raised the rebellion, or actively took part in the fighting. Certainly, contemporary accounts state that some Celtic women fought alongside the men. In any case, she gathered and unified a large army, or a large army was gathered in her name, which included both Iceni and Celtic tribes who had never submitted to Roman rule.

The rebels first attacked Camulodunum (modern Colchester), the Empire's most important site in Britannia, and destroyed it, killing all inhabitants. The Roman Ninth Legion Hispana, led by Petilius Cerialis, marched to defend the site; some miles north of the ruins of Camulodunum they were slaughtered. For two years, her armies rampaged through the country. Whether or not they killed the 70,000 claimed by the Roman historian Tacitus is unknown, but archaeological evidence clearly indicates that Roman cities were razed to the ground, and inhabitants killed indiscriminately.

They headed towards Londinium--modern London-- in 63. As news of the rebellion's success spread, Decianus, procurator of Londinium fled with his entire administration, leaving the city without government. Suetonius and his troops had arrived beforehand, but abandoned London as impossible to defend. The city was destroyed by rebels. They moved on to Verulamium (St. Albans), which was largely abandoned; Boadicea's army destroyed what remained. Suetonius's troops finally confronted the rebels in the West Midlands.

Tacitus claims that Boadicea led the Celts in this final battle. He also presents Boadicea's final speech in his Annals, but his source is unknown, and no modern historian vouches for the authenticity of this stirring piece of rhetoric.

The rebellion was soundly defeated. The final fate of Boadicea is uncertain; it seems unlikely either she or her daughters survived. Had they been taken by the Romans, history would have recorded the fact. Most claim she poisoned herself rather than be taken.

She has been celebrated in art and literature, and predictably, appeared as a song by Enya and a character in Xena, Warrior Princess. A romanticized statue of Queen Boadicea by Thomas Thornycroft was presented to the city of London, England in 1902 and stands near the Houses of Parliament. A popular story has her body buried at Stonehenge, but no evidence supports this claim; another tale, possible but unproven, states that her grave rests beneath Platform 9 of King's Cross Station.

ideath says "i was told by a friend, a british archaeologist, that "boadicea's ash" is a recognised landmark for dating layers in digs in the areas she scourged.

eponymous says Boudicca is also the default female Celt leader in Sid Meier's Civ2.

"Boadicea." Enya: Magic and Melody.

"Boadicea: Queen of the Iceni."

Jason Burke. "Dig Uncovers Boadicca's Brutal Streak." The Observer Dec. 3, 2000.

Dio Cassius. Roman History Book LXII.*.html

"Queen Boadicea." The World of Royalty (this site contains a list of fiction and non-fiction about Boadicea).

Tacitus. The Annals, Book XIV.
Tacitus's account of the Boadicea Rebellion appears in the Athena Review, Volume 1.

S. Wilson. "Queen Boudicca And The Events Leading To The Iceni Rebellion of 60 A.D."

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