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Celtic History's Boudicca: A Strong Celtic Warrior Queen

Updated on June 21, 2012
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When Kitty was a little girl she dreamed of being a museum curator or archaeologist. Now she studies and writes all about history.

The Redhaired Queen of the Iceni

Boudicca was a strong and revered queen of the Celts in Britain in the first century before Christ. She was ruler of the Iceni Celtic tribe that resided in the Southern part of Britain, then known as East Anglia. She was said to have had red hair that fell to her knees and stood as tall as the tallest Celtic soldier...which could have been anywhere from six feet to seven feet (the Celts were said to have been very tall people)!

Can you believe that during the time when the Romans were trying to conquer the entire world, there were Queens that were actually appointed over tribes in the Celtic countries and ruled in total equality to their King husbands? Believe it! Boudicca was one of quite a few Queens of the Celtic people...and probably the most famous and beloved.

Boudicca was married to King Prasutagas, who was the kind of ruler that wanted the absolute best for his people...even if it meant treatying with the growing-ever-closer threat of the Romans. For awhile, the Iceni tribe sat by with their hands under their butts and watched while the Romans conquered many tribes in Britain, until King Prasutagas felt that the peaceful times of the Iceni tribe were coming to a close. In an effort to save tranquility amongst his tribe and tribe's lands, the King went to the nearest Roman-ruled town and basically sold himself out to the Roman force. In return, the King's tribe was left alone and not bothered by the Roman soldiers for many years...until the King's death. Upon this weary time for the Queen and their daughters, things took a turn for the worst...

Before I continue with the escalating story of Boudicca and the Iceni tribe, I must first clarify the major differences between the Romans and the Celts that contributed to Boudicca's brief downfall and then her brilliant rise to glory...


The Roman Empire Vs. The Celtic Peoples

The Romans' way of living was basically on the opposite end of the spectrum, when compared to the Celtic tribes' way of living. One of the main differences between the two empires was women's rights and society roles. Romans treated their wives and women as though they were simple property, nothing more and nothing less. Roman wives did not inherit or own any property of their husband's nor were they allowed to take political seat within the empire. For a woman to be in control of a tribe or army was unspeakable and dispiccable in the Romans' eyes. From the Celtic peoples' point of view, women were held with as much respect and honor as the men in a tribe. Women were considered of equal status and were allowed to own land, fight in battles, and hold a seat in political institutions. This is where the main problem between the Romans and the Celts came into play in the story of Boudicca and the Iceni Tribe.


London Knoweth No Fury...

Now we return to Boudicca's mournful time after her beloved husband's death.

After the King's death, Boudicca was named as leader and Queen of the Iceni tribe and all of the King's land and power was passed down to Boudicca and the couple's two daughters. The Iceni tribe was very disturbed to see the King pass, but they knew that Queen Boudicca and the two princesses would make wonderful leaders of the tribe.

Almost immediately the Romans received word that King Prasatugas had died and that he was passing his throne and land to his loyal wife, Queen Boudicca. This enraged the Roman leaders and they quickly rounded up an army to dethrone the Queen and take possession of the Iceni tribe's land in East Anglia (Southern Great Britain). When the tyrannical Roman army arrived, the cruel and shovenistic soldiers reportedly flogged Boudicca in front of her entire tribe. The dignified Queen was also forced to watch as her two helpless daughters were brutally raped and beaten by the Romans.

Following Boudicca's public humiliation and her daughters' brutal attacks, Boudicca arranged an army of around seventy thousand soldiers...her tribe plus other Celtic tribes in Great Britain. They ransacked the Roman's London and showed the Romans a force and fury that they had not encountered before. Boudicca led this great and powerful army into each battle and was greatly feared by many Romans. The attack that the Celts accomplished over the city of London held its effect for at least ten years over the Roman empire. Boudicca continued to fight in battle after battle against the avenge herself and her adolescent daughters. I believe she also did it to prove that women can be just as mighty and equal to men.

Eventually, the Celts fell under the almighty arm of the Roman empire and Boudicca's army was defeated. Boudicca was crushed by the loss of this ongoing war and ended up taking her own life so as not to be captured and dominated by her cruel Roman offenders.

Commemoration of One So Bold and Beautiful

A glorious statue stands in London today to commemorate Boudicca's passion and strength for her people. This statue symbolizes the respect that Boudicca demanded of her people, as well as from her enemies and proves that women have held a place in to the most famous and strongest male warriors and kings.

Let Boudicca's strength and courage inspire you in your own life...and remember that women are equal and always have been.

Written and copyrighted © by Kitty the Dreamer (May Canfield), 2012. All Rights Reserved.


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  • profile image

    Lee Cloak 2 years ago

    Fantastic hub, very interesting topic, thanks, Lee

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

    She was amazing, wasn't she? I can't help but feel like I knew her in a past life. Thanks, vox vocis.

  • vox vocis profile image

    Jasmine 5 years ago

    It's sad that Boudicca was forgotten by the Middle Ages. Thanks to the works of Tacitus, the most important Roman historian of the time, whose father-in-law served three times in Britain and eye-witnessed the courage of this Celtic queen and woman-warrior, we gained some insight into the Celtic society, history and ways of living. Interesting hub, voted up!

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    Brianna Boudicccia Suffel 5 years ago

    Heyy I enjoyed this as well ... My mom Named Me After The Celtic Warrior Queen Boudiccia and Im Proud of it every day .... I did my speak on Boudiccia in grade 7 i'm always wanting to know more about her and what her life was like... i remember my first year of high school it was the night before the first day and there was a program on tv about her and my mom let me stay up to watch it with her ... i am always watch history documentrys with my mom i love to learn a lot about history it is a passion of mine to travel the world but mostly i would love to go and see the statue of Boudiccia... i want to make her memory live on forever :)

  • cbpoet profile image

    cbpoet 6 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

    Enjoyable & educational hub .. Thanks for sharing.

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from the Ether

    hi, dolores. yes, the romans did tend to exagerrate the celts' size; however, the remains of celtic soldiers that have been found in austria and in another country (i can't remember the other one) were measured to be 6' and the other was 6'6"! So there has been proof but the roman historians did tend to tell "tall" tales. :)

  • Dolores Monet profile image

    Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

    kitty - how cool! I was just reading up on the Celts and Queen Boudicca, and saw a picture of that beautiful statue in London of the queen and her 2 daughters. Though I can't believe they were that tall and think that the size of the Celts in general was a Roman exaggeration. Well done and voted up.

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    Paul Darnell 6 years ago

    Hi Kitty,

    Good post and always good to read about Boudicca.

    If you want to read about another site of Roman interest, take a look at my Site Hadrian's Wall Live.

    It deals with the history of the Wall and wider Scottish and English borders

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from the Ether

    Hi, Brendon. Thanks for taking the time to read my hub and I am very glad you enjoyed it. Boudicca has been my favorite historical figure since I was about eleven years old when I first learned of her from a book called "Who Were the Celts?" The Celtic people were a very interesting group...and occupied a large percentage of Europe at one point.

    Thanks, again!

  • Brendon Floyd profile image

    Brendon Floyd 6 years ago from Oklahoma City, OK

    Great hub, I don't know much about Boudicca. I love European history, it is so rich and colorful.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this hub