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Boudica: Who was she? A Quick Introduction for KS2

Updated: Apr 8

Boudica? That's an interesting name!

Isn't it? Boudica means Victory or Victoria. Although, it probably wasn't even her real name. Instead, Boudica was likely her given title as a war leader. We might never know what her real name was.

Wait, I've heard of Boudica before. But I thought it was Boudicca. Or was it Boadicea?

Yeah, it is a bit confusing. Archaeologists and historians have settled on Boudica, so that's what we've opted for here. But Boudicca and Boadicea aren't wrong. As for pronunciation, the current favourite way to say her name is like 'Booo-Dik-Ah'. Rather than the more over-the-top 'Bow-Dis-Ee-Ah'.

Wasn't Boudica married to someone really important?

She was married to the chief of the Iceni Tribe (a Celtic Tribe based in Norfolk). His name was Prasutagus.

So what fun stuff did Boudica do?

Boudica led her tribe (& many other tribes too) in a rebellion against the Romans.

Whoa, why did she do that?

When her husband Prasutagus died, he left the tribe to Boudica and his two daughters. But the Romans didn't like that. They wanted to be in charge of the Iceni Tribe. So the Romans attacked Boudica & her two daughters. Boudica swore revenge.

You go girl! What did she do?

She lead her army to Colchester while the majority of the Roman army was fighting elsewhere. They set fire to the city & killed many people. Her forces then wiped out a Roman Legion (the 9th) in battle. This terrified the Roman population!

It was London that was next on Boudica's hit list, the settlement was quickly burnt to the ground. Boudica followed this up by destroying St Albans.

Good golly! That must've been quite the body count

It's estimated that Boudica and her army killed 70,000 to 80,000 people across the three cities her army razed.

Did the Romans fight back?

The Roman Army - led by the Roman governor; Gaius Suetonius Paulinus - returned from Wales and defeated her in battle. Although she had a larger army, the Romans were better armed and well disciplined.

How close did Boudica come to winning?

Pretty close. Up until Suetonius' ultimate victory, it is said that Emperor Nero, the ruler of Rome, came very close to pulling Roman forces out of Britain entirely.

What happened to Boudica?

No one knows for certain, though there are many theories. In fact, two Romans Historians, Tacitus and Cassius Dio, wrote two different accounts of how Boudica was killed. Tactitus stated that she killed herself to avoid capture, whilst Dio believed she died of an illness.


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