Sunday, 10 April 2011


NAME Boudicca (Boudicca has been known by several versions of her name. William Cowper's poem, Boadicea, an ode (1782) popularised an alternate version of the name. From the 19th century and much of the late 20th century, "Boadicea" was the most common version of the name, which is probably derived from a mistranscription when a manuscript of Tacitus was copied in the Middle Ages. Her name was clearly spelled Boudicca in the best manuscripts of Tacitus, so though Wikipedia calls her "Boudica", we will ass another 'c' in this Trivia Biography.

WHAT FAMOUS FOR Wild Queen of the Iceni.

BIRTH Not sure, they had no birth certificates in those days.

FAMILY BACKGROUND Tacitus and Dio Cassius agree that Boudica was of royal descent.

APPEARANCE Tall, grim faced, piercing eyes and harsh voiced with strawberry blonde hair tumbling down to her hips. You can always check out the statue of Boudicca on Westminster Bridge in London.

FASHION Boudicca wore around her neck was a large golden necklace, and she was habitually clad in a many coloured tunic and a thick cloak fastened by a broach. She used the leaves of the plant woad to dye her body blue. According to Roman historian Dio Cassius her appearance was "terrifying." Dio Cassius

CHARACTER A stroppy British Amazon woman. When fighting the Romans she was a livid doll. Boudicca was a typical English rose - very prickly.

RELATIONSHIPS Boudicca's husband was Prasutagus, King of Iceni, which is sort of modern day East Anglia. He died around AD60 at the hands of the Romans. He'd bequeathed his property jointly to his two daughters and the Roman emperor Nero.

MONEY AND FAME In 60AD taxation was introduced to Britain with the legions of the Roman army, when slaves were subject to a 4% sales tax & there was a 1% tax on everything else. But corruption among the tax collectors of East Angela was one of the factors in prompting Boudicca to lead a revolution. Boudicca's fame took on legendary proportion in Victorian Britain, and Queen Victoria was seen as her "namesake".

MUSIC AND ARTS Boudicca spoke a Celtic dialect whose closest surviving language today is Welsh. Once the Romans came her tribe adopted the Latin script.

"When the British warrior Queen
Bleeding from the Roman rods
Sought with an indignant mien
Counsel at her country's gods." Boudicea by William Cowper

SCANDAL Originally a supporter of the Romans, Prasutagus' Iceni territory in Easten England was declared a slave province after his death. The just widowed Boudicca was flogged by the Romans, her daughters violated, no wonder she freaked out. After that one doesn't have to probe the recesses of the Boudicca psyche to understand why she was so wild.

MILITARY RECORD Despite her husband's bequest at his death those caddish Romans seized the late Prasutagus' territory. After her scourging the blue skinned Boudicca led an attack on Colchester whilst taking advantage of the Roman governor Suetonius' absence in Anglesey where he was putting down a revolt. She murdered its Roman inhabitants and seized its imperial temple. When news of the rebellion reached him, Suetonius hurried along Watling Street through hostile territory to Londinium (that's London to you and me). By this time Boudicca had gathered a sizable but ill disciplined army. Suetonius considered giving battle there, but considering his lack of numbers, decided to sacrifice the city to save the province. Londinium was abandoned to the rebels, who burnt it down, slaughtering anyone who had not evacuated with Suetonius. Verulamium (St Albans) was next to be sacked by Boudicca and her stroppy Brits. In the three cities destroyed, between seventy and eighty thousand people are said to have been killed. By now, Suetonius had gathered enough troops to engage and they encountered Boudicca and her unruly army somewhere on Watling Street. The battle was watched by a sizable crowd of British women, children and ineligible (too old or on the injury list) who had followed the rampaging Brits on their unbeaten run, helped by the fact all their fixtures were played at home. However they witnessed a shattering defeat, the thick woods not being the best site for the naive Brit's chariot warfare. 80,000 British warriors and spectators died and the groundsman was probably sacked. The Romans despite their army being stretched trying to subdue the Druids only lost 400.

TRAVEL Boudicca was a dangerous driver of a tiny, manoeuvrable horse drawn cart. However, it's not true what you may have read about the warrior queen attaching knives to her wheel spikes.

DEATH Died 60AD when routed by Suetonius. According to Tacitus, Boudicca and her daughters all poisoned themselves; Dio Cassius says she fell sick and died, and was given a lavish burial.In 1988 archaeologists claimed to have located her grave under platform 8 at Kings Cross Station.

APPEARANCES IN MEDIA 1. Boudicca has been the subject of numerous literary works such as the play, The Tragedy of Bouduca by Beaumont and John Fletcher and Tennyson's poem Boadicea and William Cowper's poem, Boadicea.
2. Boudicca has been the subject of two feature films, the 1928 film Boadicea, where she was portrayed by Phyllis Neilson-Terryand 2003's Boudica (Warrior Queen in the USA), a UK TV film written by Andrew Davies and starring Alex Kingston as Boudicca. She has also been the subject of a 1978 British TV series, Warrior Queen, starring Siân Phillips as Boudicca.
3. Thomas Thornycroft's vast bronze statue of Boudicca and her daughters on Westminster Bridge was completed in 1902.
4. One of the track's of Enya's 1987 debut album, is titled "Boadicea".

ACHIEVEMENTS 1. Inspired the whole of South East England to revolt against the Romans almost forcing them out of Britain.
2. If it wasn't for Boudicca’s stroppiness, Colchester then the capital of England might have remained so. However she sacked Colchester, the relatively new town of London became capital and it never looked back.
3. The first great Briton & first warrior queen.

Sources Wikipedia and my knowledge

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