Boudica

Boudica c. 60 AD:
Why Force is Never the Solution

These events happened before English spelling was standardised, so Boudica’s name is rendered differently in different texts (Boadicea, Buduica, Boudicca). Boudica seems to be the most accepted of these.  The name Boudica probably derives from the Celtic word ‘bouda’ meaning victory.

Background

By 1000 BC the great patriarchal revolution had begun in the world. Alpha males fought each other for territory and control using violence and subjugating populations as they went.

By 43 AD the alpha male Romans were the current winners of that bullying, world domination game. They had annexed most of Britain, leaving only two British rulers with any power.  One of these was Prasutagus, King of the Iceni a Celtic tribe which lived in what is now Colchester in the county of Essex, England.

Images of Boudica

Romans Dishonour the Iceni and Boudica

Boudica. Prasutagus’ wife, was queen of the Iceni during the early Roman occupation of Britain.  When her husband died in 60 AD, leaving half of his property and lands to the Romans (to settle a grant, later re-named a debt by the Romans) and the other half to his two daughters, the Romans did not respect his will and took control of the whole Kingdom.

They publicly flogged Boudica and raped her daughters (this being a typical alpha male trait – violence against that which you fear).  The Romans badly mistreated the Iceni, who then gave their support to Boudica to fight against Roman oppression.

Boudica and the Iceni Rebel

Of the event Boudica says:

I was whipped by the Romans when they tried to take our lands – and now I am fighting for my freedom. Think how many of us are fighting and why.  We must win this battle or die.  Let the men live as slaves if they want. I will not.

Of the Roman oppressors the Iceni say:

… the Governor tyrannizes our persons, the procurator, our possessions.  Their gangs of centurions mingle violence and insult. Nothing is any longer safe from their greed and lust.  In war it is the braver who take the spoil; as things stand, it is mostly cowards and shirkers that rob our homes, kidnap our children and conscript our men.”

Cornelius Tacitus (Roman Historian)

Roman Accounts of Boudica

Of Boudica, Cassius Dio (Roman historian) says:

“… a terrible disaster occurred in Britain.  Two cities were sacked, eighty thousand of the Romans and of their allies perished, and the island was lost to Rome.  Moreover, all this ruin was brought upon the Romans by a woman, a fact which in itself caused them the greatest shame .. But the person who was chiefly instrumental in rousing the natives and persuading them to fight the Romans, the person who was thought worthy to be their leader and who directed the conduct of the entire war, was Buduica, a Briton woman of the royal family and possessed of greater intelligence than often belongs to women … In stature she was very tall, in appearance most terrifying, in the glance of her eye most fierce, and her violence was harsh; a great mass of the tawniest hair fell to her hips; around her neck was a large golden necklace; and she wore a tunic of divers colours over which a thick mantle was fastened with a brooch.  This was her invariable attire.”

Dio, Roman History (LX11.1-2)

Boudica’s Campaigns Against the Romans

Led by Boudica, about 100,000 British attacked Camulodunum (now Colchester), where the Romans had their main center of government. With Suetonius and most of the Roman forces away, Camulodunum was not well-defended, and the Romans were driven out. The Procurator Decianus was forced to flee. Boudica’s army burned Camulodunum to the ground.

Immediately Boudica’s army turned to the largest city in the British Isles, Londinium (London). Suetonius (the Roman governor), strategically abandoned the city, and Boudica’s army burned Londinium massacring the 25,000 inhabitants who had not fled. Archaeological evidence of a layer of burned ash shows the extent of the destruction.

Next, Boudica and her army marched on Verulamium (St. Albans), a city largely populated by Britons who had cooperated with the Romans, who were killed as the city was destroyed.

Lack of Food Loses the War

Boudica’s army had counted on seizing Roman food stores when the tribes abandoned their own fields to wage rebellion, but Suetonius had strategically seen to the burning of the Roman stores. Famine thus struck the victorious army, weakening them.

Boudica fought one more battle, though its precise location is not known. Boudica’s army attacked uphill, and, exhausted and hungry, was easy for the Romans to rout. Roman troops of 1,200 defeated Boudica’s army of 100,000, killing 80,000 to their own loss of 400.

What happened to Boudica is uncertain. It is said she returned to her home territory and took poison to avoid Roman capture. Other stories say she fell ill and died.

As a result of the rebellion, the Romans strengthened their military presence in Britain but also lessened the oppressiveness of their rule.

The Moral of the Story

Though Boudica fought a valiant and righteous battle, the long term result had minimal impact on history.  Perhaps the alpha male Romans were a little less cruel for a while, but ultimately, even when the Roman Empire declined, the next wave of alpha males took their place.

It is alpha male mentality which must be routed, rather than individual alpha male warriors or alpha male civilisations.  The problem can never be solved on the level on which it is created.  Alpha males use violence to get their way and using more violence only perpetuates the problem.

The problem of alpha male rule can only be solved by a general turning away from the beliefs of the alpha male – superiority, elitism, violence, oppression, torture, destruction – in favour of the positive values of creativity, compassion, love, egality and concern for the world as a whole, rather than nationhood.  Only powerful women can initiate this change in direction away from destructive values to creative ones.

Interested to Read More?

For a more complete account of the Boudica story see here.

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