Boudicca: Just Ruler Or Power Mongering Tyrant

1515 words - 6 pages

Early In the days of Roman Britain, in the 1st century AD, there lived a warrior queen by the name of Boudicca. Flame-haired and proud, she ruled the Iceni. The lands she governed were located in what is now East Anglia; she had inherited them from her late husband, Prasutagus. When he died, he had left half his lands to Boudicca and her daughters, and the other half to the Emperor Nero, as a sort of payoff to encourage the Romans not to try and take any more.The Romans, however, had other ideas. The Roman governor stole the remaining Iceni lands, flogged Queen Boudicca, and raped her daughters). Needless to say, Boudicca was incensed. She took up weapons and rallied her people.Although the different reasons the Celts used, taxes, ill treatment, confiscation of weapons were definitely a catalyst, Boudicca really started the revolt as a way to expand her political power.Reasons for the revoltAround the time of the death of Prasutagus several events coincided. The Emperor Claudius died and the Roman governor Seutonius went on a campaign in a remote part of Britain. For a while the focus of Roman attention, strong leadership and control was removed from those seemingly settled parts of Britain. Prasutagus had, as was the custom, willed enough of his wealth to Rome that his tribe and the succession of leadership should not have required Roman interference. The Iceni believed that enough had been paid to Rome to protect their power base and wealth. However, after the death of Prasutagus an attempt was made by the Romans to make the Iceni a subject population. This may indicate that the wealth of the Iceni was so vast to be considered worth the risks involved in setting aside Boudicca and the central family and to risk the wrath of the tribe to take its property and wealth in the name of Rome. "Nero, succeeding Claudius in the empire, undertook no wars at all; and, therefore, among countless other disasters brought by him upon the Roman state, he almost lost Britain; for in his time two most notable towns were there taken and destroyed."BedeIt is possible that Boudicca and her family were treated like this because the Romans new she was planning a revolt. It is likely that Boudicca occupied a dual position both as tribal leader and as the manifestation of a Druidic or Celtic Goddess. We are given the description by Tacitus of an immensely imposing woman, given an impression of a woman as powerful warrior. There is the mystery of Boudicca's name; Boudicca means 'victory'. She has been identified with Brigantia the war goddess of the Brigantes). She is also associated with Morrigan known as the Great Queen in Ireland. She is also associated with the triple war goddess whose three persons are Nemain, Badb Catha and Macha. There is also a possible link to the Celtic goddess Boudiga. The goddess invoked by Boudicca before the last battle is reputed to be Andrasta (also known as Victory). It is said that Boudicca sacrificed those she defeated in...

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