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Sunday, 24 March 2013

Boudicca

Boudicca (d60AD) has been known by several versions of her name. William Cowper's poem, Boadicea, an ode (1782) popularized 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.

According to Roman historian Dio Cassius her appearance was "terrifying."  She was tall, grim faced, piercing eyes and harsh voiced with strawberry blonde hair tumbling down to her hips. Boudicca  used the leaves of the plant woad to dye her body blue. You can always check out the statue of Boudicca on Westminster Bridge in London.

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

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.

 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.

She inspired the whole of South East England to revolt against the Romans almost forcing them out of Britain. 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 and 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 men . They witnessed a shattering defeat,and 80,000 British warriors and spectators died, including Boudicca. The Romans despite their army being stretched trying to subdue the Druids only lost 400.

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.

Boudicca's fame took on legendary proportion in Victorian Britain, and Queen Victoria was seen as her "namesake".

If it wasn't for Boudicca, the then capital of England Colchester might have remained so. However after the Warrior Queen sacked Colchester, the relatively new town of London became England's capital and it has never looked back since..


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