|Statue of Boudicca|
Westminster Bridge, London
Last week, BBC on-line posted an article about a recent find. It seems that a causeway built around 75 B.C. by the Iceni tribe, who lived in what is now Norfolk and Suffolk in eastern England, was found by archaeologists in and around the area of Geldeston. Exact dating has yet to be carried out but the preliminary results date it to about 100 years prior to the Roman invasion of Britain against which Boudicca was a key force. The causeway was, of course, built before Boudicca lived but it is an exciting find. As it was a major route of her kingdom, she may well have travelled it. Apparently, the actual wooden posts are so well preserved by the peat that they look modern and all of the tool marks are still visible.
The road that ran through the wetlands was 4 meters wide and ran for 500 meters across the marshes. Archaeologists believe that the route was likely used for trade, boundaries and to allow the Iceni access to sacred places – swords and other weapons are often found in water where the Celts would have made offerings to the gods.
The uprising began while Governor Paulinus was in Mona (Anglesey) to crush the druid stronghold. Boudicca’s forces subsequently defeated Rome in several engagements and sacked the cities of Camulodunum, Londinium and Verulamium. In the end, Roman forces prevailed and at the final battle, according to Tacitus, over 80,000 Britons died with Roman casualties under 1000. Hard numbers to swallow and which should be taken with a grain of salt as history, as we know, is written by the victors. Would Rome want to give much sway to a female opponent who delivered some heavy hits to its ego? Probably not.
There is of course no shortage of historical fiction when it comes to Queen Boudicca. She is the stuff of legend. Books and series from such writers as Manda Scott, Simon Scarrow, Rosemary Sutcliff and Pauline Gedge are but a few of the good ones. There are others.
|Cover of George Shipway's|