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Boudica, the warrior queen

By Edited Oct 18, 2016 2 3

She was tall, a redhead with hair that reached her hips, she had a powerful voice and a glow that seemed enchanting. She was dressed in a multi-colored tunic and around her neck she wore a torque. The Roman author Cassius Dio described her this way and added that she was extremely intelligent for a woman. Who is this woman who was so famous that even a Roman thought it would be worth writing about her? Her name was Boudica.

Life of Boudica

Nobody is sure about the year in which Boudica was born. The only thing we know is that she died in either 60 of 61 A.D. Boudica was married to Prasutagus, the king of Iceni, and she gave birth to two beautiful daughters. Prasatugas had made a deal with the Romans that ensured him of the fact he would be able to remain king as long as he honored the Roman rules. He believed the deal would last forever. He arranged that his wife, daughters and the Roman Emperor would inherit his country after his death. However, this was something the Romans didn't honor. The deal between Prasutagus and the Romans would only last until his death. According to the Romans it was impossible for women to inherit and therefore they took the land of Prasutagus after his death. The inhabitants were treated as slaves and poor widow Boudica was tortured, while her daughters were raped.

Boudica couldn't live with the changes and decided to battle them. In the year 61 A.D. she started to collect soldiers who desired to follow her and slay the Romans. After a while she had an army of about 100.000 soldiers. They began a march and destroyed many Roman cities. The Romans feared her and simply fled away when they heard Boudica was approaching. The first Roman who started fighting Boudica was Gaius Suetonius Paulinus. At first he didn't want to battle Boudica and her army, because his army was much smaller than hers. Because he didn't' want to fight, Boudica could reach Londinium. This happening is now known as the first time London was completely destroyed.

After Londinium was destroyed Gaius decided to fight Boudica, because he couldn't allow her to do more damage to the Romans. It is not known where the battle took place. Boudica had her men fight in the Celtic way: naked and painted. She also brought a lot of public, because the Iceni loved watching battles. Even though there were many more Iceni, they were slain by the Romans, because the Roman army was well organized. It is not known how Boudica died, but it is for sure that she didn't make the end of the battle.

Boudica nowadays

Even though Boudica lived long ago, she is still honored nowadays. Even though many people never heard of Boudica, she's easily found in contemporary art, music and literature.


Of course the Roman authors Tacitus and Cassio Dio have been writing about Boudica. They weren't the last authors who paid attention to her. Polydore Virgil told her story in his novel Voadicea. Raphael Holinshed dedicated his Chronicles to her and poets as Lord Tennyson and William Cowper wrote poets about the warrior queen.

In recent years quite some books were published about Boudica. Diana L. Paxon, who wrote a lot with Mists of Avalon-author Marion Bradley Zimmer, released a book in 2007 about Boudica named Ravens of Avalon.

Boudica and sculptures

In the Victorian age Boudica was really popular because her name is the Celtic equivalent of Victoria. Prince Albert planned to have a Boudica sculpture made. This happened. The sculpture is to be found next to the Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament. The sculpture bears to lines that were taken from the poem: Boadicea, an ode, by William Cowper.

Films, theatre and television

In 1610 the first play in which Boudica was important, was released. The play was named Bunduca en was written by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, two playwrights who lived in the same time as Shakespeare.

Two films were made about Boudica, the most recent one was released in 2003, named Boudica. In july 2007 the BBC broadcasted a documentary about Boudica's life and recentely Gavin O'Connor announced the making of a new movie called Warrior, which will be about Boudica.

Boudica and music

The most famous song in which Boudica is mentioned is made by Irish singer Enya. The song is to be found on the cd the Celts and is included in the best of cd, Paint the Sky with Stars.

Boudica and a myth

There is a myth going on about Boudica. It is said that she's burried in Kings' Cross rail station, in London. And there are people in Lincolnshire who state they have seen her spirit.

Whoever Boudica was, she's a fascination person in the history of men.



Jul 21, 2010 8:44am
I am woman, hear me roar. Great story.
Nov 25, 2011 3:51am
Excellent work bringing an apparently forgotten legend back to the light of day.
Dec 30, 2011 9:40pm
What an amazing character she must have been.
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