Boudicca, Celtic Warrior Queen, 30 AD-unknown

A fearless female rebel and avenger, Boudicca led a Celtic army of 230,000 warriors in hand-to-hand combat against the Roman Empire in the year 60 AD. She became an epic heroine in British history, often evoked by Queen Elizabeth I, to warn Brits of the threat of the Spanish Armada. Her name derives from a Celtic word for victory, and she’s also thought to have been a kindred spirit of namesake Queen Victoria. Boudicca was described as tall and terrifying, with waist-length tawny hair and a voice that was “brutal.” She wore bright colours, capes and intricate gold necklaces. Her rallying cry to her army was said to be “Win the battle or perish, that is what I, a woman, will do.”

Much of Boudicca’s life and death is unknown, as the Celts did not keep written records, but based on Roman accounts she was born around 30AD in what is now Colchester. At 18, she married the King of the Iceni tribe of East Anglia and became Queen. They had two daughters, but no male heir. When the King died, Romans soldiers annexed the Empire, pillaging, plundering and raping women in their wake. When they did the same to the Queen’s young daughters, they vastly underestimated her will and bravery. Uniting all the Celtic tribes in vengeance, Boudicca amassed an army in a battle that would see 70-80,000 Romans slaughtered and the city of London burned to the ground. They would eventually lose the final battle of Watling Street as the Romans employed sophisticated battle tactics. It is thought that she and her daughters poisoned themselves to escape capture, as her battle cry foretold, but no one is sure.


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