Find Me On FaceBook!

December 2006July 2007August 2007September 2007January 2008February 2008March 2008April 2008May 2008June 2008July 2008August 2008September 2008October 2008November 2008December 2008January 2009February 2009March 2009April 2009May 2009June 2009July 2009August 2009September 2009October 2009November 2009December 2009January 2010February 2010March 2010April 2010May 2010June 2010August 2010September 2010October 2010November 2010December 2010January 2011February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011July 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011July 2012August 2012December 2012January 2013February 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013June 2013July 2013August 2013September 2013October 2013November 2013December 2013January 2014February 2014March 2014April 2014May 2014June 2014July 2014August 2014September 2014October 2014November 2014December 2014January 2015February 2015March 2015April 2015May 2015June 2015July 2015August 2015September 2015October 2015November 2015December 2015January 2016February 2016March 2016April 2016May 2016June 2016August 2016September 2016October 2016November 2016December 2016January 2017February 2017March 2017April 2017May 2017July 2017September 2017October 2017December 2017February 2018March 2018April 2018May 2018

Welcome to History Buff, a blog for history lovers everywhere! History Buff brings news stories about archaeology from around the world together on one site. From finds in ancient Egypt to new discoveries in anthropology, History Buff wants to know.

Michelle Moran
Historical fiction author


Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

Logo designed by Shaun Venish

Blog designed by Mia Pearlman Design


She crucified her enemies and burnt London to the ground. Meet Britain's first feminist, Boadicea


Britain's history is rich in fiery queens, and the first such heroine, tall with red hair down to her waist, commanding and brave, was Boadicea, warrior leader of the ancient Britons.

She lived at the same time as the emperors Claudius and Nero, and led a surprisingly successful British revolt against Roman rule in AD60-61 (which, for reference, was when St Paul was writing epistles and St Mark composing his Gospel).

She was a notable orator. Her enemies, the Romans, said her voice was strident, but, as Margaret Thatcher found, any woman seeking to establish authority over an assembly of men is open to this accusation.


Queen of mean: Alex Kingston as Boadicea for ITV

The history we have of her from such a distant epoch is part fact, part fiction, and not much is really known with certainty about her. But her name lives on and her tragedy rings a kind of muffled bell in all of us.

The Roman historian Tacitus - who wrote within living memory of the rebellion and was therefore nearest to the action in literary terms - records that she was the wife of Prasutagus, king of the Iceni, a tribe in what we now call East Anglia.

He had made a deal with the Roman conquerors that when he died his co-heirs would be his own two daughters and the Emperor Nero. That way he hoped to preserve his kingdom and his family fortune.

But, on his death, the Romans ignored the will, flogged Boadicea, raped her daughters and seized all her husband's property and estates. As a result, says Tacitus, the Iceni rose in revolt, backed by the Trinobantes, a tribe from what is now Essex.

This army of Britons destroyed the Roman colony at Colchester, annihilated the ninth Roman legion, which came to relieve the town, and forced the Roman Governor of Britain, Paulinus, to evacuate London, which was also destroyed. Seventy thousand Romans were killed.

The rampaging Britons targeted places where "loot was richest and protection weakest," wrote Tacitus. "They could not wait to cut throats, hang, burn and crucify, as though avenging, in advance, the retribution that was on its way."

It duly arrived. Paulinus collected 10,000 troops and lured the Britons into a pitched battle on grounds of his choosing, at a place Tacitus does not identify but seems to have been somewhere in the Midlands.

The Britons congregated in huge numbers, on foot and horseback, and "their confidence was so great that they brought their wives with them to see the victory, installing them in carts stationed at the edges of the battlefield."

Boadicea (or Boudica as she is more often called these days) is said to have driven round all the tribes in a chariot with her daughters in front of her, and addressed them in a fighting speech with marked feminist over-tones.

She showed them her bruised body and outraged daughters, and ended with the rallying cry: "Win this battle or perish. That is what I, a woman, plan to do. Let the men live in slavery if they will."

Read the rest on the DailyMail.