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Boudicca

Boudicca (also known as Boadicea), was a Celtic chieftainess who led the Iceni[?] and a number of other Celtic tribes, including the neighbouring Trinovantes[?], in a major uprising against the occupying Roman forces in Britain in c. AD 60.

Prasutagus[?], her husband, was the king of the Iceni who had compromised his political position by entering into a number of agreements with the Romans, amongst them bequeathing part of his dominions to them, in hope that they would protect his family's title to the remainder. When he did die, the Romans seized all of his lands, plundered and committed a number of atrocities, including flogging Boudicca and raping her daughters.

In anger Boudicca swiftly assembled an army, said by some sources to number as many as 100,000 men, although the numbers were probably much lower. They laid waste to Colchester, London and Verulamium before they were eventually defeated by a numerically vastly smaller yet better equipment and far more organised Roman army led by Suetonius Paullinus. She also sacrificed hundreds of Roman women to the warrior goddess Andraste.

The reports of her death are contradictory: some accounts state that she committed suicide by poisoning rather than be captured, others assert that she died in a Roman prison cell.

Boudicca's fame endured in Britain for several centuries afterwards. Gildas alludes to her in his typical oblique fashion as a "treacherous lioness".

A statue of Boudicca, depicted as she is conceived in folk memory, astride a chariot with knives set into the wheel-hubs, is to be found in central London beside the river Thames, next to Westminster Bridge[?] and the Houses of Parliament. It was made by Thomas Thornycroft in the nineteenth century.



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