Boudica

When the Romans invaded Britain in AD43, Antedios was the king of the Iceni tribe of East Anglia.The Iceni were separated by the Corieltauvi of Lincolnshire by the Wash which extended further south then it does now making a northern boundary. The southern boundary was more of a cultural division, the Trinovantes made use of wheel thrown pottery called Belgic where the Iceni used more traditional hand-made pots. The Catuvellauni were a tribe which had conquered much of Hertfordshire, this making the western boundary.

Unlike her neighbours the Iceni didn't trade with the Romans resulting in a rift. In AD60 Prasutagus who was then the Iceni King died leaving his wife Boudica and two daughters to rule and trying to make the peace with Rome he left Nero as joint heir. The Procurator, Catus Decianus pillaged and confiscated the Iceni land, Boudica was flogged and her two daughters were raped by Roman soldiers, Rome then claimed back moneys that had been loaned to the tribes, this caused a great deal of resentment that helped Boudica to collect by her a considerable army.

Boudica attacked Colchester in the late spring with her Iceni and the Trinovantes, the town was defended with only two hundred Roman troops as the governor of the province C.Suetonius Paullinus was on a campaign in Anglesey. Colchester had no rampart or ditch, so was soon overthrown and the town destroyed by fire, no prisoners were taken, everyone who fell into Boudica's hands was slain.

Next Boudica attacked the Roman town of London, Londinium being its Roman name. At this time in its history London had just been formed as a staging place on the Thames by the Romans in about AD50. Boudica set London to the torch killing all the occupants and then traveled northwest along Watling Street to Verulamium.

The town of Verulamium is now no more but it seems to have been a large Roman settlement just outside the now St Albans in Hertfordshire and the capital of Catuvellauni, it was built on the Roman road of Watling Street which linked London to the Midlands. Verulamium had the same fate as Colchester and London and the Britains were getting over confident.

Suetonius had gathered his army together and traveled from Anglesey south along Watling Street. Boudica decided to put all her forces on the field of battle but she was no military commander and made basic mistakes. The Romans were allowed to pick the place of the battle and the Britains brought along their women in wagons to watch, they placed the wagons at the rear of their forces. The Roman legionnaires having thrown their spears into the advancing Britains then joined shields and advanced using their short stabbing swords, they cut the Britains to pieces. There was no way out as the wagons were in the way of any retreat and the Britains were slaughtered. The death toll for the Romans was under 500 but they killed about 18,000 Britains.

This ended the Boudican revolt and nothing more is heard of Boudica but her rebellion moulded the next 350 years British history.

Taken from The Boudican Revolt against Rome by Paul R. Sealey

 

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