Eight Days that Made Rome: Boudica’s Revenge

Beginning with the day, around 60 AD, when Roman troops invaded Boudica’s settlement, flogged her and raped her daughters ….

Beginning with the day, around 60 AD, when Roman troops invaded Boudica’s settlement, flogged her and raped her daughters, Bettany Hughes reveals the stark realities of brutal Roman rule. The outrage provoked the Iceni queen to lead a revolt that came perilously close to ending the Roman occupation of Britannia.


 

Bettany Hughes focuses on the day when Roman troops earned the undying hatred of a fierce and fearless queen who led a revolt that came perilously close to ending the Roman occupation of Britannia. Around 60AD troops invaded Boudica’s settlement, flogged her and raped her daughters.

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The outrage provoked the Iceni queen to lead a revolt that came perilously close to ending the Roman occupation of Britannia. Dramatisations featuring Aislinn Sands, Ross O’Hennessy and Nicholas Lopez bring the key moments to life.


Boudica or Boudicca was a queen of the British Celtic Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire in AD 60 or 61, and died shortly after its failure. She is considered a British folk hero.

Boudica’s husband, Prasutagus, ruled as a nominally independent ally of Rome and left his kingdom jointly to his daughters and the Roman emperor in his will. However, when he died, his will was ignored, and the kingdom was annexed. According to Tacitus, Boudica was flogged and her daughters raped. Cassius Dio provides an alternative explanation for Boudica’s response, saying that previous imperial donations to influential Britons were confiscated and the Roman financier and philosopher Seneca called in the loans he had forced on the reluctant Britons.

In AD 60 or 61, when the Roman governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus was campaigning on the island of Anglesey off the northwest coast of Wales, Boudica led the Iceni, the Trinovantes, and others in revolt. They destroyed Camulodunum (modern Colchester), earlier the capital of the Trinovantes but at that time a colonia, a settlement for discharged Roman soldiers and site of a temple to the former Emperor Claudius. Upon hearing of the revolt, Suetonius hurried to Londinium (modern London), the 20-year-old commercial settlement that was the rebels’ next target. The Romans, having concluded that they lacked sufficient numbers to defend the settlement, evacuated and abandoned Londinium. Boudica led 100,000 Iceni, Trinovantes, and others to fight Legio IX Hispana, and burned and destroyed Londinium and Verulamium (modern-day St Albans).

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