Queen Boudicca’s Revolt

Queen Boudicca's Revolt

Queen Boudicca of the Iceni is one of the most famous warrior women in History who led a fierce Rebellion against Rome in Roman Britain.

Following the Roman invasion if Brittania under Claudius, the Iceni became a loyal British ally and paid tribute to the Roman Empire. 

However, in 60AD, the Iceni King Prasutagus died, and in his Will recognised the Roman Emperor Nero together with his two daughters as heirs to the Iceni Thron.

This was a strategy to preserve the Iceni Crown whilst at the same showing allegiance to Rome.

The Romans did not respect the Iceni King’s Will however, and took the opportunity to invade and sieze Iceni lands for the benefit of Rome.

When the King’s widow, Queen Boudicca, protested against the Roman actions, both she and her daughters were flogged and publicly humiliated by Roman Soldiers.

In response, Boudicca initiated a revolt which was soon joined by other Tribes also frustrated at the brutal treatment they received from the Romans,

The revolt began with a successful attack on the poorly defended key Roman Settlement at Camulodunum which was full of Roman administrative and cultural buildings that the rebels swiftly and utterly destroyed.

In addition many of the Town’s occupants were viciously attacked with some being crucified, burnt or hung.

The destruction of Camulodunum was so total that archaeologists are able to see a noticeable layer of scorched debris left by the sacking of the city called the ‘Boudiccan destruction horizon’.

Soon after Camulodunum, two other important Roman Towns and Trading Posts, Londinium and Verulamium also suffered the same fate. 

As the Rebels made off with their loot, the Roman Legions lay in wait in the dense Forest at Watling in middle England where a fierce climatic battle between the Romans and Britons would occur. 

The Roman legions numbering approximately 10, 000 Men faced off against 230 000 Celts driven by the motto “Win this battle, or perish!”

Ultimately however, despite their determination and ferocity, Boudicca’s Militia was no match for the Roman Army with its superior weapons and seasoned Military tactics.

In the end, the battle proved to be a massacre as the women and children that had accompanied the Celtic Army into battle were also slaughtered by the Romans with Celtic casualties estimated at 80,000 whilst Roman casualties stood at only 400 soldiers.

After the battle, Boudicca escaped and was never captured by the Roman Army with claims being made that she either committed suicide or died from illness a few days afterwards.

The remaining members of the Iceni Nation and other revolting Tribes were completely obliterated by the Roman Legions in Britain, and  Britannia became more entrenched as a Province of the Roman Empire.

Nevertheless, despite the outcome of the Revolt, Queen Boudicca’s legacy stands out as one of the most resilient warrior women in World History leading a Tribal Militia driven by the desire for self-determination against the mighty Roman Empire.