• Imagining History

Boudica: Who was she? A Quick Introduction for KS2

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

Name: Boudica means Victory or Victoria. It probably wasn't even her real name! We might never know what that was... Instead Boudica was likely her given title as a war leader.

Boudica or Boudicca or Boadicea? A bit confusing this. Archaeologists and historians have settled on Boudica, so that's what we've opted for here. As for pronunciation, the current favourite is 'Booo-Dik-Ah' rather than the more over the top 'Bow-Dis-Ee-Ah'.

Married to: The chief of the Iceni Tribe (in Norfolk), Prasutagus.

Motives: When Prasutagus died, the Romans attacked Boudica & her two daughters. Boudica swore revenge.

Rebellion: Boudica led her tribe (& many others) 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 understandably 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.

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

Defeat: The Roman Army - led by the Roman governor; Gaius Suetonius Paulinus - returned from Wales and defeated her in battle. Although she had many more men, the Roman army was better armed and 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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