Boudica's Rebellion

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Background

Boudica or Boudicca, pronounced Bow-di-ka, also known as Boadicea (from a monk's spelling mistake) or Buddug, the modern Welsh version, was a British Queen and Warrior who led an uprising against the Romans in 60 or 61 AD. The main sources of information regarding her come from the Roman statesmen, politicians and historians Tacitus and Casius Dio.
Her husband, Prasutagus, who was the King of the Iceni tribe, died, leaving in his will half his property to his and Boudica's daughters and half to the Romans to protect the freedom of the Iceni Kingdom. At least, he thought it would, but the contrary happened. According to Tacitus:

Boudica was furious, and when Gaius Suetonius Paulinus lead a campaign against the island of Mona, also known as Anglesey, which was a refuge for British rebels and the stronghold of the Druids, the Iceni and other tribes, such as the Trinovantes, came together to revolt, and Boudica was chosen as their leader...

The rebellion

Boudica wanted to wreak havoc on Roman Britain. She addressed her army with a speech, which according to Tacitus, went something like this:

But now, it is not as a woman descended from noble ancestry, but as one of the people that I am avenging lost freedom, my scourged body, the outraged chastity of my daughters. Roman lust has gone so far that not our very persons, nor even age or virginity, are left unpolluted. But heaven is on the side of a righteous vengeance; a legion which dared to fight has perished; the rest are hiding themselves in their camp, or are thinking anxiously of flight. They will not sustain even the din and the shout of so many thousands, much less our charge and our blows. If you weigh well the strength of the armies, and the causes of the war, you will see that in this battle you must conquer or die. This is a woman's resolve; as for men, they may live and be slaves.

Tacitus also records that they drew inspiration from Arminius, a Cherusci Prince who had defeated the Romans in AD 9, resulting in them leaving Germania, and their ancestors who had expelled Julius Caesar and his army from Britannia around a Century before. Brittania was a difficult country to invade, which was learnt by previous invasions. The original inhabitants of Brittania are unknown, but before the Celts, who inhabited Britain before the Roman, Anglic, Saxon, and Jutish invasions in the first millenium AD, there were a people who may have had a culture related to that of the Basque culture in the Pyrenees - a Vasconic culture, but there is indefinite evidence, so we don't know. When the Celts settled in Britain, it was the first wave of Celts, or the Hallstatt culture, that settled, and the later La Tène culture never reached the British isles. But there may have been a culture before that - the Urnfield culture - that could have been the first Celtic settling. Britain was an isolated and proud territory, and the people knew the land, and they protected it as well as they could. The Romans were used to warmer climates in flatter terrain, so it was much easier to rebel. And this is what Boudica and her army did. The next bit will be explained on a map...

...Boudica and her army started at Venta Icenorum, the Capital of the Iceni tribe. They took Pye Road past Camulodunum (Colchester) to London...

While the governor was on the island of Mona (Anglesey)...

Boudica pillaged and destroyed Camulodunum, the former Capital of the Trinovantes, and Londinium, which was Roman London.

The governor (Gaius Suetonius Paulinus) went to Viroconium and hurried down Watling Street towards London.

...and Boudica had also gone along Watling Street towards Venonis (High Cross in Leicestershire) which was where Watling Street and Fosse way met. She pillaged Verulanium (St Albans) along the way and somewhere along the journey, she encountered the Romans...

Gaius Suetonius Paulinus was going along Watling Street...

The location of Boudica's defeat is not known, but the guess I'm going with is that the battle was fought around Venonis, because the Romans called in troops from Isca (Exeter) and would have met them there if they came. It may have been in Mancetter, North Warwickshire, which is close to High Cross. According to Legend, Boudica's defeat was near Messing, in Essex, suggesting that Boudica went back to Norfolk by going East from St Albans and then planning to go north. A recent discovery of Roman Artefacts in Kings Norton, Birmingham, could mean that she went west, possibly planning to escape to Wales. In 2009, an idea was put forward that meant that she may have been heading back to Norfolk along the Icknield Way when she was encountered around Arbury Banks, a hill fort in Hertfordshire. There is strong evidence that the defeat was around Paulerspury, Northamptnshire, as it is somewhat near to High Cross, and there have been a lot of bones found over the surrounding area. Now for the details of the battle...

The battle

While Boudica was fighting in Verulanium with her army, Gaius Suetonius Paulinus regrouped his forces. Tacitus records that he amassed a force including his own Legio XIV Gemina, some vexillationes (detachments) of the XX Valeria Victrix, and as many available auxilaries as he could. Poenius Postumus, the prefect of Legio II Augusta, ignored the call, and a fourth legion, IX Hispana, was trying to help the victims of Boudica's assault on Camulodunum. Even with the governor now commanded an army of almost ten thousand men. Boudica probably had between 230,000 - 300,000 warriors, although the account that described the number was from Cassius Dio's account, only known on a late epitome, so that number should be taken with a grain of salt. Her forces outnumbered the Romans' forces. Now onto the battle itself...

Boudica and her army were in a field, with their wagon train behind them. They were sure they were going to win the battle...

...but the Romans had chosen this place because there was a narrow gorge thet they were in, with a forest in front of them and a field behind that...

...so when the Britons tried to get through the forest, they were slow and noisy. They were channeled into a tightly packed line...

...which the Romans could easily shoot at. The Romans shot at the Britons with their pila, a type of Javelin. This killed some of the Britons and damaged some of their shields, which the Britons were forced to discard as a result.

The Britons tried to escape when the Romans charged on them, but they were blocked by their wagon train, which had their families and supplies in...

...and this meant that the Romans could massacre the Britons.

The Romans didn't only kill the British Warriors, they also killed some who weren't even participating, and they even killed their pack animals. Some of the reasons for the failure of the rebellion include:

The rebellion had ended, and Gaius Suetonius Paulinus continued to stamp out small patches of rebellious tribes, but this proved to be counterproductive. The procurator of Britain, Catus Decianus, fled to Gaul (France) and was replaced by Gaius Julius Alpinus Classicianus, who advised the Emperor Nero that if Gaius Suetonius Paulinus continued to simply crush rebellions, then it would cause more violence. An inquiry was set up, and Nero's Freedman, Polyclitus, went to Britain to head the inquiry, which resulted in Gaius Suetonius Paulinus being relieved of his command, to be replaced by Publius Petronius Turpilianus. According to a historian called Gaius Suetonius Tranquillius, the crisis nearly persuaded Nero to abandon Britain. It showed that even the mightiest of empires could be shaken by some ill-equipped warriors.


The end.

Coded in HTML and CSS by James Young.

Thank you to Wikipedia for most of the information and to w3Schools for showing me how to make these presentations, and to Repl.it for hosting this presentatioon and for their amazing code editor. This presentation took about 125 lines of HTML code and 160 lines of CSS code, and about 6mb out of my 100mb free repl.it storage space.


The text below is the CSS, or the code that stops this from looking weird.