Boudicca – Queen of the Iceni
War Leader of the Combined Eastern British Army
One of two British women to be mentioned by the ancient sources. She was the wife of king Prasutagus who was granted the kingship of the Iceni, along with clientship of Rome after the Icenian war of 47AD. Following her husbands death in c.59AD her kingdom was pillaged by the imperial procurator Decianus Catus, and when she made complaint, she was personally flogged and her daughters raped. Indignant at her treatment she fomented a rebellion within her tribe and, joined by their neighbouring tribe the Trinovantes, plundered the Romano-British towns of Camulodunum, Verulamium and Londinium before being beaten in a pitched battle with the forces of the governor, Suetonius Paullinus, near Manduessedum in the midlands.Can[…]Iceni
Issued the first inscribed Icenian coins, bearing the letters CAN DVRO, the basic design of which was based on coins from Cantium. The exact meaning of the DVRO part of the inscription is unknown, but is possibly a mint-mark. He was succeeded in c.25AD by Anted[ios], who was later to become a client of Rome in 43AD.
Prasutagus and his wife Boudicca were given rulership of the tribe of the Iceni after the Icenan war of 47AD, for the Romans preferred to invest a client king in the NE and leave him the task of policing the important sea routes into the Wash and other smaller estuaries along the Norfolk coast. while the Roman legions were free to consolidate their positions to the SW.
By 60AD the king was dead and the officers of the governor and the provincial procurator Decianus Catus treated the Iceni with contempt.
Centurions of Suetonius were plundering the kingdom depriving Icenian nobles of their goods and evicting them from their ancestral properties. Members of the royal house were being treated as slaves and the procurators own officers were looting the king’s household.
The royal family revolted, but were mercilessly subdued, the queens daughters raped and she herself flogged. The outraged queen then incited the Iceni to revolt.
They were joined in rebellion by the Trinovantes in Essex and other tribes ‘who had not yet been broken by servitude’.
The Trinovantes had their own grievances; the soldiers settled in the Colonia established in Camvlodvnvm in 49AD were given lands previously owned by Cunobelinus the overlord, but now they had started taking land belonging to the simple tribesfolk, evicting them from their homesteads and treating them as slaves.
References in Classical Literature
References by Modern Historians