Statue of Boudicca, warrior queen of the Iceni,
Boudicca was indeed a famous queen by all measures, and her fame she earned by virtue of her own will. She was shrewd, she was fierce and she was strong and bold. Boudicca’s rebellion was a crucial moment in early British history. This is especially so in light of Romans’ occupation- which she challenged- that radically altered its course over many centuries. Boudicca’s strong inclination to confederacy of Briton tribes had taken the placid Roman occupiers totally by surprise. The Romans, for their part, assumed that the “Celtic barbarians were far too disorganized to mount any insurrection.”
This open challenge by a female, on so many accounts, to me, was a huge defeat to the Romans honor in war- and to their titanic ego. Before this battle, the Romans have gone largely unchallenged in Britain since its conquering. And so, the ability and the military organizations of these tribes who were not even allowed to have weapons during Romans’ rule, and yet were able to rise up and sack three defended cities was astonishing. And through this amazing feat, Boudicca’s place in history was established, and thereby became a Visible Helper of her tribes.
“We British are used to women commanders in war, …. But I am not fighting for my kingdom and wealth now. I am fighting as an ordinary person for my lost freedom….” Here, it’s evident that this was a fearless female commander giving a passionate battle-cry speech before her loyal army, and saying that she wasn’t going to war with the Romans for any other reason except for her own freedom. Thinking of that, how can such a lofty goal not be worthy of honor, even by modern standard? “And Though she lost her battle and her cause, Boudicca is celebrated today as a national heroine and a universal symbol of the human desire for freedom and justice.
Statue of Boudicca, warrior queen of the Iceni, London.
Boudicca’s war achievement should speak volumes about role of women in early British’s society. The fact that a woman commander was at the war-front, accentuate the great difference between these two opposing kingdoms. Boudicca’s’ version of history, however, could be what gave modern military planners any inkling to what role women are capable of playing in war. Overall, it might have set the precedence of what today we called gender equality in the civilized world. Tacitus writes that Britons made no distinction in the sex of their leaders but were used to women commanders in war.
Yes, the Romans’ only disadvantage might had been of the size of their small army. Still, the Romans had the strategic advantage- they were better equipped with powerful machineries of war. Plus, they, too, were geared up by the same kindred spirit that powered their opponent against them. And so it may be arguable to say that the Romans fought the war out of national pride and with great technology in defense of something still higher which they held most precious. The Romans were also encouraged by ideas about the afterlife. Boudicca and her people, on the other hand, had all the right reasons to go to war! They fought for their freedom. They fought for their honor. And like any other noble race of that generation, they stood so firm before the most formidable army of the day, to defend their own. And, for them, these reasons were enough that they became the moving force which powered the Britons’ army to do battle.
Though the Romans might have had a better and well-armed fighting force, when it came to spirituality, I believe that the Romans were not superior to those of the mysterious tribesmen, the Celtic. Especially the Druids were no strangers to the doctrine on transmigrations and to the secrets of nature. Some Celtic’s value, by degrees, I believe, became Romans’ values. The Druids, as an Order, is still more related to the Egyptians in the mystery than are the Romans, to it. Therefore, the Druids or Celtic people couldn’t have been inferior to Romans morally. And though the Romans were more or less sophisticated technology-wise, I see them not as far apart as it appears.