Boudicca: A Strong Celtic Warrior Queen
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 People
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 Romans...to 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 history next 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.
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Did you know women fought alongside their men in the Celtic tribes?
© 2011 Nicole Canfield