Boadicea was she a powerful ruler, or a merciless general? Many questions arise when you begin to explore her accomplishments or many would even say failures. Most of the information on Boadicea has been derived from myths and most of what is written about her is from the words of her Roman enemies. During the creation and rule of the Roman Empire, Rome would constantly be aiming to take over the entire known world. Consequently Boadicea and her people of Britannia clashed.
Julius Caesar was the first to take over Britain; he forced 6 powerful barbarian tribes to become a part of the Roman Empire. Iceni was amongst them, which happened to be the tribe of the famous Boadicea and her husband Prasutagus. However, Caesar and his army left that same year because they found the conditions too cold. Later in 43 AD Claudius Nero came into power. A man who was both cruel and pitiless, in his lifetime he managed to not only kill both his wives, his brother, and his mother but was known to go around the streets at night killing random men.
Nero who wanted so badly to earn the respect of his Roman citizens decided to retake Britain. Boadicea was born into aristocracy in the year 30 AD she then married the ruler of the Iceni tribe. She had two daughters during their marriage. When the Roman army invaded her city her husband Prasutagus agreed to leave all his accumulated wealth to the Roman Emperor. Prasutagus did this in the hope that his country would be taken in piece but Nero did not see it in the same light. He took the offering as surrender.
The Roman army began to take action, they treated all the Iceni people as slaves, and they raped both of her daughters. Then when her husband past away, she became regent to the thrown and she was brutally beaten by the Roman army. If this was not enough Boadicea also had to witness the suffering of her people; raised taxes, forced military service. Claudius even had a temple built for him in Iceni, Boadicea had had enough. She recruited her army and the army of other bitter barbarian tribes and begun a very bloody war.
Boadicea and her supporters all felt that the army would only last for a short matter of days but lasted from 60 to 61 AD. Her opportunity came when the Roman general Seutonius Paulinus and his army were resting in what is modern day Wales. She took the Romans by surprise; she attacked the Romans strongly fortified temple, which gave out in only two days. The war cost hundreds of lives of not only the Celtic people but the Romans as well. Boadicea was successful in pushing the Romans all the way south to London.
On her way to the final battle in London Boadicea sacked and burned each major city she passed. She managed to burn the capital at Colchester, London and Verulamium. This however was not such an easy task, but the famous warrior queen was so determined in her revenge against the Roman people. Each house was built of hardened clay and timber making them hard to burn to the ground but she didn’t stop until every house was down to the ground. Was she determined and a powerful leader for doing this? Or was she merciless and evil?
In today’s society this is referred to as ethnic cleansing and would not be tolerated. Not only did she burn every object touched by the Roman people she crucified them, she took woman caught of their breasts and placed them in their mouths, which was thought to may have been a pay back for the rape her two daughters experienced. Fortunate or not Boadicea lost her final battle with the Romans. Boadicea refused to suffer the humility of being captured so she took a poison administered by her most faithful druids.
It is a common myth that her body still lies under platform 9 of Lords King Cross Station. Even though many will say Boadicea was an inhumane person by the punishments she enforced onto the Roman people she did manage to accomplish quite a few things. One, she was one of the earliest women in history that lead a successful battle. She was also the one who shocked the Roman emperor into adopting new, better and kinder policies towards the treatment of the lands they conquered because the Roman government was scared for another revolt of the same magnitude.
Although, the Iceni tribe was not free from Rome, they did manage to encourage Seutonius successor Pretonious Turpilanius to let the Britons guide themselves. This gave Britannia more power and freedom than ever before. Every battle Boadicea fought she fought it with all her might it was Boadicea who said, “Think of how many of us are fighting and why. Then you will win this battle or die. That is what I, a woman plan to do. Let the men live as slaves, if they want. I won’t. “