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Boudicca statue

Boudicca statue

Boudica also spelled Boudicca, formerly known as Boadicea (and known in Welsh as "Buddug"), was a queen of the Iceni tribe of what is now known as East Anglia in England, who led an uprising of the tribes against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire.

Boudica's husband, Prasutagus, an Icenian king who had ruled as a nominally independent ally of Rome, left his kingdom jointly to his daughters and the Roman Emperor in his will. However, when he died his will was ignored, possibly because the Romans, unlike the Britons, did not recognise daughters as heirs. The kingdom was annexed as if conquered, Boudica was flogged (and her daughters raped), and Roman financiers called in their loans.

In AD 60 or 61, while the Roman governor, Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, was leading a campaign on the island of Anglesey in north Wales, Boudica led the Iceni, along with the Trinovantes and others, in revolt. They destroyed Camulodunum (Colchester), formerly the capital of the Trinovantes, but now a colonia (a settlement for discharged Roman soldiers) and the site of a temple to the former emperor Claudius, built and maintained at local expense, and routed a Roman legion, the IX Hispana, sent to relieve the settlement.

On hearing the news of the revolt, Suetonius hurried to Londinium (London), the twenty-year-old commercial settlement which was the rebels' next target, but concluding he did not have the numbers to defend it, evacuated and abandoned it. It was burnt to the ground, as was Verulamium (St Albans). An estimated 70,000-80,000 people were killed in the three cities. Suetonius, meanwhile, regrouped his forces in the West Midlands, and despite being heavily outnumbered, defeated Boudica in the Battle of Watling Street. The crisis had led the emperor Nero to consider withdrawing all Roman forces from the island, but Suetonius's eventual victory over Boudica secured Roman control of the province.

Location of her defeat: Edit

The location of Boudica's defeat is unknown. Most historians favour a site in the West Midlands, somewhere along the Roman road now known as Watling Street. Kevin K. Carroll suggests a site close to High Cross in Leicestershire, on the junction of Watling Street and the Fosse Way, which would have allowed the Legio II Augusta, based at Exeter, to rendezvous with the rest of Suetonius's forces, had they not failed to do so. Manduessedum (Mancetter), near the modern day town of Atherstone in Warwickshire, has also been suggested.

Fiction: Edit

Boudica has been the subject of two feature films, the 1928 film Boadicea, where she was portrayed by Phyllis Neilson-Terry, and 2003's Boudica (Warrior Queen in the USA), a UK TV film written by Andrew Davies and starring Alex Kingston as Boudica. A new film is planned for release in 2010 entitled Warrior, written by Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal, directed by Gavin O'Connor, and produced by Mel Gibson. She has also been the subject of a 1978 British TV series, Warrior Queen, starring Sian Phillips as Boudica. Jennifer Ward-Lealand portrayed Boudica in an episode of Xena - Warrior Princess entitled "The Deliverer" in 1997.

Boudica's story is the subject of several novels, including books by Rosemary Sutcliff, Pauline Gedge, Manda Scott, Alan Gold, Diana L. Paxson, David Wishart, George Shipway, and J. F. Broxholme (a pseudonym of Duncan Kyle). One of the viewpoint characters of Ian Watson's novel "Oracle" is an eyewitness to her defeat. She has also appeared in several comic book series, including the Sláine, which featured two runs, entitled "Demon Killer" and "Queen of Witches" giving a free interpretation of Boudica's story. Other comic appearances include Witchblade and From Hell. Additionally, in the alternate history novel "Ruled Britannia" by Harry Turtledove, Boudicca is the subject of a play written by William Shakespeare to incite the people of Britain to revolt against Spanish conquerors.

Henry Purcell's last major work, composed in 1695, was music for play entitled "Bonduca, or the British Heroine" (Z. 574). Selections include "To Arms", "Britons, Strike Home" and "O lead me to some peaceful gloom". Boudica has also been the primary subject of songs by Irish singer/songwriter Enya, Dutch soprano Petra Berger, Scottish singer/songwriter Steve McDonald, English metal band Bal-Sagoth, Faith and the Muse and Dreams in the Witching House. She´s also been mentioned in The Libertines´ song The Good Old Days

Ex Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark has been called Boadicea.

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