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Who is Queen Boudica?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 July 2014
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Queen Boudica was a Celtic warrior and leader who almost succeeded in driving Rome from the British Isles in the first century CE. She is a famous figure in British history, and a notable statue in her honor can be found in London near the Houses of Parliament. Many people have idolized Queen Boudica as a warrior-queen who stands as a powerful female figure in ancient history.

According to available historical information, Queen Boudica was married to King Prasutagus, who ruled over the Iceni tribe of Eastern England. Whether or not she was a member of this tribe is a subject of debate, as many Celtic tribes made marital alliances with each other. At any rate, she was described as an extremely intelligent and unusually ferocious redhead, and many biographers commented that she was also unusually tall.

When King Prasutagus died, he willed the kingdom to Queen Boudica and her daughters. However, the Romans did not recognize the will, instead attempting to take over the Iceni, and the region, for themselves. Queen Boudica and her daughters were abused at the hands of Roman officials and soldiers, in what turned out to be a very unwise political mood, because Boudica responded with anger, mobilizing an assortment of Celtic tribes in what came to be known as the Iceni Rebellion.

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Queen Boudica and her forces attacked London, Colchester, and several other locations, driving the Romans back and forcing many to retreat to the mainland. The Roman Emperor even considered withdrawing from Britain during the Iceni Rebellion of 60-61 CE, but he was dissuaded. Under the direction of the Governor, the Romans made a stand, ultimately defeating the British forces and securing their rule over the British Isles.

According to legend, Queen Boudica poisoned herself so that she would not be captured by the Romans after the defeat of the tribes. This would have been understandable, given her past abuse at the hands of Roman authorities. Queen Boudica actually faded from historical memory briefly, with scholars unearthing accounts during the Renaissance, thus beginning the glorification of this famous leader; in the Victorian Era in England, adulation of Queen Boudica reached its height, and she is considered to be a lasting cultural symbol by many modern Britons.

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anon63880
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