Good morning, we are continuing with our exploration into women’s history for March by taking look at the story of Queen Boudicca. She leads a revolt against Rome. The run time for this documentary is 1:06:01.
Queen Boudicca was the queen of King Prasutagus. Together they were the leaders of the Iceni Tribe. When the Romans invaded Britain, King Prasutagus negotiated peace with Rome and became an ally of the Romans. It was after the King died, that trouble began. The Romans humiliated her, so Boudicca and the Iceni rose against them. She was the one woman who humiliated the Romans. So who was the historical Boudicca?
Boudicca was little known in history until a poem was published about her. Thomas Cowper, was the poet who memorialized her and the poem seized the public imagination. She became a hero to the British. Scholars debated the origins of her name until Boudicca was set. How could this tribal leader become such an important figure in British history?
Britain was at the edge of the known empire. Their isolation helped them develop their culture, their own character, and their language. However, newcomers would come across the sea. They would establish a ruling warrior class. The people in Britain developed their cultures by adopting new ideas. Even with the English Channel dividing Britain from the Continent new ideas could find their way into Britain. Each tribe in England developed differently over the years. Some were farmers, others were warriors who raided to survive. Each region had a different style of housing as well.
However, there was another group set on invasion: the Romans. They would launch their invasion during the winter and they would be led by Julius Caesar. The soldiers would not have been thrilled with a winter. It would take one hundred years for the Romans to fully take over Britain. It would take Emperor Claudius to finish what Caesar had started. Rome would for the British tribes to change.
The first tribal group to ally with Rome was the Iceni. The Iceni king was known as a friend to Rome and was a client kingdom. The story of the Roman conquest of Britain continued as Romans built settlements and conquered the people. Nero would eventually become Emperor and the Iceni would face new challenges. The King of the Iceni died suddenly, leaving his wife and children behind. It was his death that would change everything for Boudicca. The King would divide his property between his daughters and the emperor.
However, the Romans demanded a full inventory of the King’s estate. Queen Boudicca was whipped and her daughters were raped. This would be the catalyst to help trigger the Iceni uprising. Additionally, the Romans demanded higher and higher tributes and stole people to make them slaves. Queen Boudicca had enough and would gather the Iceni together to rebel against Rome. How would this one woman be the one to humiliate the Romans? Tune into the rest of this documentary to find out.
There is something old-school about this documentary, I cannot put my finger on why I get the old-school vibe. The first part of the documentary was a summary of the world Boudicca was part of. It went way too long. It took about 20:00 before the narrator finally addressed the Iceni. The writers could have cut down on the setup by about ten minutes, therefore getting into Boudicca’s story quicker. Another thing that I found annoying was that there was another ten-minute discussion on the continued Roman invasion of Britain after a quick mention of the Iceni. Then the Iceni would get mentioned again, then there was the mentioning of the Druids’ Final Last Stand in Anglesey. Although nice because I remember Time Team doing a dig on that site, it was something that I was not looking for in a documentary on Boudicca. The title for this documentary is deceptive. There were times when I felt that this documentary was not about Boudicca but rather the Roman Invasion of Britain.
This documentary was definitely a rambling piece of work. If you wanted to learn more about Queen Boudicca and the Iceni and the rebellion against skip this documentary. If you want to learn more about the invasion of Britain then you can show this documentary in a classroom.
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