It was said that the women of the Iceni tribe were as tall and also as fierce as their men folk and would also follow them into battle. Armed with swords and axes they would fall upon their opponents uttering hideous screams.
It is the year 60-61AD and at the head of the Iceni tribe stands a flame haired woman in her early thirties. She is the widow of King Prasutagus of the Iceni. She stands proud and erect shoulders back, despite the discomfort of the lash marks left on her body. Lash marks she received at a public flogging at the hands of the detested Romans. She is, of course, Boadicea.
Some say that she was actually named Boudiga after the Celtic goddess of Victory by her Iceni followers but the Romans called her Boudicca. At her side stand her two teenage daughters, Camorra and Tasca.
Their treatment, at the hands of Rome, no less outrageous than their mothers, having been raped repeatedly by Roman soldiers. Why? Because their father had willed that they should inherit a portion of his estate upon his death.
The bulk of his wealth and property having been given to Empress Nero. But the Romans were greedy and certainly did not recognise the rights of women inheriting a kingdom.
Boadicea was born in or around 30AD, and was married to King Prasutagus of the Iceni tribe in 48-49AD. She bore him two children, both girls. During this time Britain was under the yoke of Roman rule, with the Iceni, a Celtic tribe, located in Norfolk and Suffolk of eastern Britian.
When King Prasutagus died, after an illness in 60-61AD he left the bulk of his lands, properties, personal possessions and monies to the Emperor Nero of Rome. The smaller portion of his kingdom was left to his wife and daughters, with his wife named as regent until his daughters came of age.
However, Rome decided that they wanted all King Prasutagus’s inheritance and only days after his death Roman officials were dispatched to seize the remainder of his estate. Queen Boudicca protested and she and her two virgin daughters were taken hostage and treated to Roman hospitality in the form of public flogging and rape.
Boudicca and her daughters managed to escape and returned to their home, beaten but not cowed. Boudicca incited her people to avenge her family's outrage and to throw off the chains of Roman rule. She led over one hundred thousand men and women into battle. First she marched on Colchester (Camulodunum) burning the temple dedicated to Claudius the Roman Emperor, followed by London (Londinium), which she razed to the ground, then on northwest to St. Albans (Verulamium), which met a similar fate.
Wherever they went the Iceni burned and pillaged. They took no hostages and captives were subjected to every known barbaric outrage. Women were disfigured and then impaled on sticks and it is said that Boudiccea made many a human sacrifice to the Celtic Goddess Andrasta.
Boudicca’s barbaric deeds paralysed the
British countryside with fear.
At the final battle we see Boudicca armed to the teeth standing in her chariot with her daughters on either side of her. She is clothed, unlike many of her followers who would go into battle naked, their skin painted blue with woad. Boudicca is in her clan tartan armed to the teeth. Though she is tired and has sustained an injury, her appearance is still both inspiring and terrifying to her enemies.
The Roman soldiers are outnumbered but
Gaius Suetonius Paullinus a clever tactician chooses to
attack Boudicca in a narrow valley thus gaining the
advantage over greater numbers. The final battle takes
place on the island of Anglesey, which the Romans called
The battle commences. Iceni women warriors resembling Furies with their hair loose and wild, hold flaming torches. Druids range with their hands uplifted to their gods chanting. But the tide has turned and the gods decide to favour the Romans. With javelins and infantry the Romans advance slaughtering not only the Iceni warriors, but also their families who wait at their back unarmed and defenseless. It is a massacre with over eighty thousand Britions slaughtered.
Boudicca is said to have survived the final battle and managed to escape back to her home. There, she decides to take poison rather than be subjected to the humiliation of being paraded by the Romans in their triumphal procession. After which she would probably be condemned to the gladiatorial arena to finish her days as a public spectacle, before dying on an opponent's sword.
continued to rage throughout the year but eventually the
diminished, defeated, Iceni are resettled in a capital
at Caistor St. Edmunds located along the river Tas.
Near to Swaffham in a village called Cockley Cley there is a reconstruction of an Iceni village.