Little is known of  boudicca’s ealiy life.According  to the Roman writers,Tacitus and Dio, she was of Royal  descent.When her story really began, she was already a queen and had two daughters.Her husband,Prasutagus, was the king  of the Icenians, a people who lived in the area correspondin roughly to the modern-day county of Norfolk. However, to understand her story we need to know  little more of what happened before.

 

 Back in 55 and 54 BC, the Roman general Julius Caesar attacked Britain. Although he never came back, he made a treaty with various British tribes. These tribes were keen to have friendly relations with the Romans and to trade with them. The Iceni tribe, however, wanted nothing to do with the Romans, and  kept Roman traders out. They thought things like Roman wine would have a bad effect on their way of life (culture).

 

By AD 43, when the Roman emperor Claudius invaded England, things had changed. There had been trade between the countries for some time and most British tribes put up little resistance, including the Iceni who made an agreement (treaty) with the  Romans.Under this agreement, the Iceni kept their own king, Prasutagus, and their way of life, including  their own money, as long as they stayed friendly with the Romans.

 

Soon after this, Prasutagus and Boudica married. She will have been a noble woman, if not a princess, and she will have had a good education. She is likely to have spent some time with other noble families, receiving education in all the womanly arts but she is also likely to have had training in military strategy and weaponry. There would have been much feasting and merriment among the Iceni on the wedding day.

 

Boudica and Prasutagus had two daughters and continued to enjoy the lifestyle of wealthy nobility, mainly undisturbed by the Roman overlords. However, as Prasutagus increased his considerable wealth, he made a will, leaving half of his estate to Nero the Roman Emperor, and the other half to his two daughters. In this way, he hoped that, after his death, his family would continue to enjoy the prestige and importance they all had whilst he was alive.

In AD 60 King Prasutagus died. Boudica became queen and expected to look after their share of the estate until the two girls were older. By this time, she was probably about 30, tall, with masses of tawny hair cascading down to her hips. She was described by a Roman writer as looking fierce with a harsh voice. She was also described as being unusually intelligent – for a woman.

 

The Roman procurator (administrator) for the area was Decianus; he decided that all of Prasutagus’ estate and those of the other Iceni leaders should now belong to Rome and the Romans, including himself. Against the normal Roman way of doing things, he sent tax collectors and soldiers to seize the property by force.
The Roman writer Tacitus says, “Kingdom and household were plundered like prizes of war, the one by Roman officers, the other by Roman slaves”.

They looked for help from the tribe to the south, the Trinovantes, with whom they had strong links.  The Trinovantes’ capital had been Camulodunum (Colchester), but it had been taken over by the Romans for their veterans (retired soldiers) who had set about expelling the locals from their houses and lands, causing strong resentment and unrest. A temple had been built in the town, to the divine Claudius, using taxes from local people, further deepening their resentment.

At a secret meeting between the tribes, they decided on a revolt against the Roman presence and appointed Boudica as their leader.
The time was ripe as most of the Roman Army was away fighting in Anglesey, north Wales, led by the governor, Seutonius Paulinus. He was trying to wipe out rebel strongholds in the island and destroy the religious leaders, the Druids.
The rebels decided that Camulodunum was to be their first target – it was a centre of great resentment and poorly defended!

 

As Boudica’s huge Army of angry Britons marched towards Camulodunum, the Romans sent messages to Decianus, begging for reinforcements. He sent only 200 soldiers. As the rebels arrived, the Romans fled to the temple, hoping its strength would keep the Britons out until help arrived. The rebels swarmed through the town, destroying everything and everyone in their path. They then lay siege to the temple and destroyed it within two days, massacring everyone inside and then setting fire to the town.

 

Meanwhile, a goodly part of the Ninth Legion, under Petilius Cerialis, was marching to relieve the siege of Camulodunum. They were too late and were met by Boudica’s Army, heady with success, who overwhelmed the Legion and massacred the infantry (foot soldiers). Only Cerialis and his cavalry managed to escape.
The victorious rebel Army now turned its attentions to Londinium (London) a busy and important centre for trade.

 

 

     boudicca