Was queen Boudicca a hero who fought for her people and achieved great victories against the occupying romans or was she ruthless and took revenge against anyone who stood in her way? In order to determine an answer, the question must be understood and the context must be established and to accomplish that, the word “hero” must be defined.
Boudicca was married to a king named Prasutagus who was ruler of the Iceni tribe, during this time it is important to remember that Britain was divided into kingdoms and each kingdom had its own leader, during this time Britain was heavily occupied by Romans. The Romans didn’t attack the Iceni tribe because their King; Prasutagus was an independent ally of Rome, before the King died he left a will stating that his kingdom was to be left jointly with his family and the Roman emperor, but his will was ignored.
The kingdom was annexed and Boudicca was scourged and her daughters were allegedly raped, from this the idea that if anything, Boudicca’s revolt was for the purpose of revenge starts to increase but there are many other factors, after all she was queen, it would’ve been a disgrace to her family in front of her people or it could’ve been a disgrace for her, but we must remember that it was Tacitus who stated Boudicca was flogged and her daughters raped, Tacitus’s writings are known for their dense, profound prose that seldom glosses the facts, which pretty much meant he rarely stated the proper facts.
He has a history for making Emperors look bad and raping an ally’s daughter really would make the roman emperor look bad. So we cant rely on that, we can only infer from it. Cassius Dio and Tacitus both state that the romans did confiscate lands and treat nobles like slaves, a new direction in thought has developed and the idea that Boudicca fought for her people has surfaced still taking into account that what Tacitus reported could be true.
The Iceni together with the neighbours conspired and chose Boudicca as their leader, for a tribe to select a lady for their leader said a lot about Boudicca’s character as obviously her tribe saw something in her that resembled a fierce warrior or leader. Dio stated about Boudicca that, “in stature she was very tall, in appearance most terrifying, in the glance of her eye most fierce, and her voice was harsh”.
Boudicca presented a speech to her army before the last battle they were to have. She stated that the battle was for revenge, but in a different context, it was revenge for all her people, a battle that all were equally outraged enough to join. This could’ve been just to encourage her people, this still could’ve been for a personal reason, but personal reason or not, was she a hero? Boudicca destroyed many towns as she “ruthlessly” rampaged through the area.
Once Suetonius, a commander that was away at battle, returned, he regrouped a number of men that were incredibly small compared to the number Boudicca had. They battled hard with the first wave of British falling almost immediately due to the lack of protective gear. The British lost because they weren’t equipped and lacked strategy, Boudicca was the warrior queen, a sort of barbarian and so was her army, they battled in a barbarious manner thus resulting in their loss.
Boudicca failed as a leader to equip and ready her army, how could she have been a “hero” to lead her army blindly. As was stated earlier in order to determine an answer, the term “hero” must be defined. A hero is someone, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities, in that case, Boudicca was indeed a hero, she was idealized for courage hence being the leader and she achieved many victories before her defeat.
To have been a lady that had her rights and children violated and have the weight of being a queen on her shoulder to not get in the way of being a warrior, is truly amazing, she defended her tribe and avenged her people. She brought shock to many people of her time and raised the hairs of the people of today’s time. Boudicca was a hero that avenged her children and fought for and most importantly with her people and achieved great victories that shaped British history. Sources used- Bisskid. co. uk/famouspeopleboudicca. html en. wikipedia. org/wiki/boudica