03 March 2011

?- 61 BC

Boudicca, a Queen of Celtic Britain, was married to Prasutagus, ruler of the Iceni people of East Anglia. When the Romans conquered southern England in AD 43, they generously allowed Prasutagus to continue to rule, with one provision. When Prasutagus died in 60 CE, he was forced to entrust half his kingdom to the Emperor Nero, the other half was bequeathed to his wife and daughters. The Romans arrived to collect, but instead of settling for half the kingdom, seized control of it. To humiliate the former rulers, the Romans beat Boudicca publicly, raped her two daughters, seized the wealth of many Iceni and sold much of the royal family into slavery. Thus, Boudicca joined with the tribal leaders of Britain and planned to revolt and expel the Romans.

Leading about 100,000 British, Boudicca attacked Camulodunum (Colchester), where the Romans had established their main center of rule. Boudicca's army burned Camulodunum to the ground, leaving only the Roman temple. Immediately Boudicca's army turned to the largest city in the British Isles, Londinium. The hostile tribes burned the city and massacred the 25,000 inhabitants who had not fled. Modern archaeological evidence exhibits a layer of burned ash to reveal the extent of the destruction.

Next, Boudicca and her army victoriously marched on Verulamium (St. Albans). Boudicca fought one final battle, though its precise location is not sure. The army attacking uphill, and, exhausted, hungry, was easy for the Romans to rout. Roman troops of 1,200 defeated Boudicca's army of 100,000, killing 80,000 to their own loss of 400.

What happened to Boudicca is uncertain. It is said the former queen returned to her home territory and took poison to avoid Roman capture.

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