Boadicea (also spelled Boudicca or Boudica) was born into a royal family around 26 A.D. She married Prasutagus, king of the Iceni, a tribe located in what is now Norfolk, England. Prasutagus was a client-king, meaning he ruled under the auspices of the Romans, who had probably put him on the throne in return for his assistance when they invaded England in 43.
Upon Prasutagus's death around the year 59, the kingdom passed into the hands of the Romans. The king had hoped the Romans would allow his two teenage daughters to keep half of his property, but instead the Romans took over completely. When Boadicea complained, she was publicly flogged and forced to watch as her daughters were raped.
Infuriated, Queen Boadicea -- described by one Roman historian as a tall, terrifying-looking woman with fierce eyes, a harsh voice, and very long hair -- became the leader of a violent uprising against Roman rule. The rebels destroyed London, Colchester, and other cities, slaughtering some 70,000 people.
But the Romans quickly put down the rebellion by defeating the undisciplined Britons in a ferocious battle (the exact site of which is uncertain). According to one account, Boadicea then killed herself with poison so she would not fall into Roman hands. Boadicea's name means "victorious," or Victoria, and in Victorian times she came to be viewed as a heroic symbol of Britain.
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Boudica: Iron Age Warrior Queen by Richard Hingley, Christina Unwin. An account of what we know about the real woman from classical literature and archaeological evidence.
Boudicca: The Warrior Queen by M.J. Trow and Taliesin Trow. Biography.
Boudica: The Life and Legends of Britain's Warrior Queen by Vanessa Collingridge. A biography that combines new research and recent archaeological discoveries to unearth a historical woman who is far subtler -- but every bit as fascinating -- as the myths associated to her name.
The Warrior Queens by Antonia Fraser discusses the legends and lives of women who have led their nations in war, including Boadicea.
Boudica and Rome
Boudica: The British Revolt Against Rome, AD 60 by Graham Webster. Examines in detail the evidence and theories about Boudica.
Boudica's Last Stand: Britain's Revolt Against Rome by John Waite. The history of one woman's battle against an empire, including a new interpretation of a battle that changed the course of British history.
The Boudican Revolt Against Rome by Paul Sealey. This short book tells the story of how the Romans coped with Boudica's revolt and explains the contribution archaeology has made toward understanding the revolt.
Literature and Legacy
Boudica and Her Stories: Narrative Transformations of a Warrior Queen by Carolyn D. Lyle. A few ancient texts provided the source material for all subsequent accounts of the seventh-century British queen Boudica and her rebellion against the Romans.
Boudica: Warrior Woman of Roman Britain by Caitlin C. Gillespie. Introduces readers to the life and literary importance of Boudica, who fomented a rebellion against Rome and was later used in ancient texts as a commentator on the failures of Emperor Nero.
The Legacy of Boadicea: Gender and Nation in Early Modern England by Jodi Mikalachki. Looks at how Boadicea was portrayed in 16th and 17th century drama.
Boudica Britannia by Miranda Aldhouse-Green. This biography raises questions about female power, colonial oppression, and whether Boudica would be seen today as a freedom fighter, terrorist, or martyr.
Queen Boudica and Historical Culture in Britain: An Image of Truth by Martha Vandrei. Explores warrior queen Boudica's presence in British discourse to demonstrate the persistence of historical ideas.
Cartimandua: Queen of the Brigantes by Nicki Howarth. A contemporary Boudica, Cartimandua chose to support Roman rule and was rewarded great wealth. In AD 69, the husband she had divorced forced her into exile.
Celtic Queen: The World of Cartimandua by Jill Armitage. Cartimandua was regent of the Brigante tribe, but she was seen as a shameless adulteress after an affair with her husband's arms-bearer.
The Great Rebellion of Queen Boudicca by Patrick Man. Boudicca, queen of the Iceni, musters an army to defy Rome.
Boudica, Queen of the Iceni by Marlene Sosebee. Another novel.
Boudica's War by Tristan M. Armstrong and Margaret Cotton. A fictional rendition of the bloody rebellion of the Iceni queen against the might and power of Rome.
Boudica: Queen of the Iceni by Joseph E. Roesch. A novel about the warrior queen's courageous struggle against the might of Rome.
Books by Manda Scott
Boudica: Dreaming the Eagle by Manda Scott. First novel in a four-part series about the only woman to lead her warriors into battle against the might of imperial Rome -- and win.
Dreaming the Bull by Manda Scott. This sequel to Dreaming the Eagle continues Boadicea's life story.
Boudica: Dreaming the Hound by Manda Scott. The third book in Scott's series..
Boudica: Dreaming the Serpent-Spear by Manda Scott. The fourth and final book in the series.
Roman Britain and Early England: 55 B. C. to A. D. 871 by Peter Hunter Blair. Covers early Britain from Julius Caesar and Boudicca to early Anglo-Saxon society.
The Real Lives of Roman Britain by Guy de la Bedoyere. Through records and artifacts, the author introduces the colorful cast of immigrants who arrived in Britain during the Roman era, and an unusual glimpse of indigenous Britons.
Roman Britain by Richard Hobbs and Ralph Jackson. Drawing on archaeological finds and written sources, this book brings the ancient past to life.
Roman Britain by Malcolm Todd. Charts the history of the Roman province of Britannia and its impact on the development of medieval and modern Britain.
The Roman Invasion of Britain by Graham Webster. Gives the background of Britain before the Roman invasion and describes the personalities involved, the actual invasion, and Claudius' triumphal entrance into the British capital.
The Roman Era: The British Isles, 55 BC-AD 410 edited by Peter Salway. A scholarly look at Roman Britain.
Roman Britain: A Very Short Introduction by Peter Salway. Charts life in Roman Britain from the first Roman invasion under Julius Caesar to the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West around AD 500.
The End of Roman Britain by Michael E. Jones. Analysis of the economic, social, military, and environmental problems that contributed to the failure of the Romans.
Bloodline: The Celtic Kings in Roman Britain by Miles Russell. Suggests that southern Britain was not so much conquered by Rome as liberated, providing an alternative theory on the role of friendly client kings from the time of Julius Caesar (55-54 BC) to the reign of the emperor Hadrian (AD 117).
Boudicca by Paul Harrison. The story of the queen of the Iceni tribe who led a rebellion against Roman rule that is remembered to this day. For ages 9 to 11.
These DVDs are formatted for North American audiences.
Boudicca: Warrior Queen. Examines the history and the myth of this queen of an obscure Celtic tribe who levied the greatest force ever put together in Britain.
Boudicca: Warrior Queen. A 25-minute documentary from the TV series "Decisive Battles."
Warrior Queen. This 2003 Masterpiece Theater movie stars Alex Kingston as Boudica, the British queen who led an uprising against Romans who occupied her land. Well-acted. Has some cheesy scenes of magic spells being cast. Contains grim depictions of rape and other violence, inappropriate for children.
Great Queens of England: Boudicca of the Iceni. A documentary about the warrior queen.
Early Britain & the Anglo-Saxons