|Art by Lady Wolf|
Boudica (Latinized as Boadicea) was an Iceni woman born c. 30 CE, married at age 18 to Prasutagus, King of the Iceni, a tribe of early Britons. The memory of this ancient queen might never have survived the annals of Time, except for one important fact: She was a strong woman who was not content to sit back, after her husband died and left her a widow. Prasutagus had become a “client king” of Rome: The Roman general assigned to Britain, Suetonius Paulinus, pretty much let Prasutagus run things in his “neck of the woods” so long as he paid taxes to Rome and obeyed Paulinus and was loyal the Roman Emperor. But Boudica, on the other hand, did not favor Roman rule at all. And when the Romans sought to humiliate her, following Prasutagus’s death, by beating her, raping her two young daughters, and taking her wealth and lands, she would not be silenced.
And here is where her Warrior Woman comes out in a blaze of glory. She rallied her tribe with brilliant, inspiring rhetoric and even got other Briton tribes that had been at odds with the Iceni to rally together with them under her banner to fight against the Romans. That, in itself, was quite an accomplishment. As a unified army, they marched on Camulodunum (Colchester), routing the Roman division there and sending the Imperial agent fleeing for his life to Gaul. Then Boudica and her troops stormed Londinium (London) and Verulamium (St. Albans), sacking and burning the towns.
Unfortunately, these Briton victories, under a WOMAN no less, angered Suetonius Paulinus, who struck back against the Britons with a vengeance and decimated Boudica’s army. Boudica, herself, was not killed in the fray, but it is recorded that she took poison and ended her own life, rather than be taken as a slave of the Romans.
From that history, you may wonder why I see Boudica as a much-needed feminine icon for today: She lost, right? Well, she may have lost the battle, but she won the admiration of her people and even some of the Romans. One Roman historian, Cassius Dio, said of her, “The Britons mourned her deeply and gave her a costly burial.”
Boudica remains a figure of sovereignty and strength for women everywhere. She could have sat back and allowed the Romans to take her lands and her possessions; she could have become a servant to Rome, as had her husband, Prasutagus. But Boudica had a backbone and it wasn’t about to bend. She wanted her people to be free and their lands and possessions to belong to them, not to some foreign power. So, she fought back as valiantly and as fiercely as any male warrior.
What can we learn from this ancient Wild Warrior Woman?
- Conflicts come, and it’s better to face them, rather than run from them.
- Stand your ground; set your boundaries and don’t let others violate them.
- You’re capable of much more than you think you are.
- So, think confidently; speak confidently; and act confidently.
- If hardships and difficulties come, rather than allowing them to defeat you, let them be the very stepping stones that will bring you closer to your goal.
- There’s a time and a place to let that wild warrior woman out: Stay in touch with her! She’ll let you know!
- Your freedoms are worth fighting for, even if, in the end, you lose the battle. Your willingness to stand up for those freedoms just may inspire others to do the same!
Now THAT’s a Warrior Woman I’m proud to follow!
Excerpt from our upcoming anthology, In Defiance of Oppression -The Legacy of Boudicca.
Sharon Smith is a writer, ghost writer, editor, and proofreader with a passion for helping women reconnect with their Authentic Selves and Voices. She loves & honors the Great Mother in all Her many forms, and has a deep connection to Nature. She identifies as a Green Witch and follows an eclectic spiritual path that is a blending of Native American and Celtic Teachings, both in her ancestral line.