Monday, November 27, 2006


Boudica (also Boudicca, formerly better known as Boadicea) (d. 60/61) was a queen of the Brythonic Celtic Iceni people of Norfolk in Eastern Britain who led a major uprising of the tribes against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire. Upon the death of her husband Prasutagus, the Romans annexed his kingdom and brutally humiliated Boudica and her daughters, spurring her leadership of the revolt.

In 60 or 61, while governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus was leading a campaign on the island of Anglesey in north Wales, Boudica led the Iceni, along with the Trinovantes and others, in a rebellion which destroyed the former Trinovantian capital and Roman colonia of Camulodunum (Colchester), and routed the Roman Legio IX Hispana under Quintus Petillius Cerialis. Boudica's army then burned to the ground the twenty-year-old settlement of Londinium (London) and destroyed Verulamium (St Albans), killing an estimated 70,000-80,000 people. Roman emperor Nero briefly considered withdrawing Roman forces from the island, but ultimately Boudica was defeated at the Battle of Watling Street by the heavily outnumbered forces of governor Suetonius.

The chronicles of these events, as recorded by the historians Tacitus and Dio Cassius[2], were rediscovered during the Renaissance and led to a resurgence of Boudica's legendary fame during the Victorian era, when Queen Victoria was portrayed as her "namesake". Boudica has since remained an important cultural symbol in the United Kingdom.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Boudica's story is the subject of several novels:

Mary Mackie 'The People of the Horse' (W H Allen 1987, ISBN 0-491-03307-9)
J. F. Broxholme (a pseudonym of Duncan Kyle), The War Queen (1967, ISBN 0-09-001160-0)
Rosemary Sutcliff, Song for a Dark Queen, a 1978 historical novel for children,
Manda Scott's series of novels, Dreaming the Eagle (2003), Dreaming the Bull (2004), Dreaming the Hound (2005) and Dreaming the Serpent Spear (2006)
Joyce Doré's Hemlock, (2002, ISBN 1-898030-19-7) in which Boudica and her two daughters are taken to Rome, before Nero, who makes her drink hemlock. Doré claims to be a psychic and to have based the book on her conversations with the historical characters.
Alan Gold's Warrior Queen (2005)
Boudica is referred to in other works of fiction, including:

In Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre (1847), Mr. Rochester asks Jane if the wedding carriage will be suitable to make the future Lady Rochester look like Queen Boadicea.
The Harry Turtledove novel, Ruled Britannia, features a world where the Spanish Armada succeeded in taking over England. Ten years after the fact, Shakespeare is recruited by a band of rebels to write a play that would stir the English to rebel against Spain. The subject of the play is Boudica.
In Alice Borchardt's Tales of Guinevere series, Guinevere is a direct descendent, on her mother's side, of Boudica.
Commodore Jack Aubrey commands a frigate named Boadicea in The Mauritius Command, a book in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey–Maturin series.
Poet Adrienne Rich refers to "the terrible breasts / of Boadicea beneath flat foxes' heads and orchids" in her poem, "Snapshots of a daughter-in-law".