Topic Guide: Boudicca

A photograph showing a statue of Boudicca

Boadicea and Her Daughters by Thomas Thornycroft 1902-1903

© A Brady via wikimedia commons CC By SA 3.0

    • Show Me introduced you to Boudicca in our Topic Guide to the Romans, but we felt that she was important enough to merit a topic guide of her very own. She was a fearsome warrior queen who defended her lands and people from an invading force – who wouldn’t want to find out more?

      Before we get started, we thought we should mention that there are several different ways of spelling 'Boudicca': some people spell it 'Boudica' and others use 'Boadicea' or even 'Buddug'.

      In this topic guide to Boudicca, we will look at: her life story, the Iceni tribe, Boudicca in London, a battle-ground, what she looked like, and her chariot.

      Boudicca's life story: The British Museum has a biography of Boudicca on their website – did you know that the name 'Boudicca' meant 'Victory'?

      Iceni tribe: Boudicca was the Queen of the Iceni – a tribe of native Britons. The Iceni lived in what is now Norfolk, although they could also be found in parts of Suffolk and Hertfordshire as well. You can discover lots about the Iceni and Roman Britain in the Norwich Castle Museum’s Boudicca Gallery.

      Boudicca in London: The Museum of London can answer all your questions about the warrior queen's time in the city, including ‘Why did Boudicca attack London?

      : Archaeologists have unearthed some bones that they think are from a battle between Boudicca and the Roman soldiers in Camulodunum, which is modern-day Colchester in Essex.

      A painting showing a triumphant BoudiccaBoadicea Haranguing the Britons by John Opie (1761-1807)© Public Domain
      What did Boudicca look like?
      Two Roman writers, Tacitus and Cassius Dio, wrote about Boudicca's appearance. You can find out what they said from the Museum of London.

      This is a painting by an artist called John Opie who lived between 1761 and 1807. Neither Opie nor the Roman writers had ever seen Boudicca. Do you think we can trust their depictions of her?

      Boudicca's chariot: One of the persistent myths about Boudicca is that her chariot had scythes on it. Experts agree that this is not accurate, but they aren’t entirely sure how the story got started. The British Museum has a chariot from around the same time, called the Wetwang Chariot. It’s likely that Boudicca would have been similar to this.
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