Monday, May 7, 2012


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Boudicas Revolt

Boudicas Revolt in AD 60 was perfectly justifiable. Britain was invaded by the Romans in AD 4 under control of emperor Claudius. The Icenis at this time were under control form King Antedious. The Icenian kingdom made a treaty with the Romans making the Iceni a Client Kingdom.

A client kingdom is a kingdom under control of the Romans. The king of this kingdom remained in throne but the king had to answer to the Romans. This meant that the king had certain freedom but in the end had to listen to what Rome said. The Iceni controlled all trade routes into the wash. The Romans needed to have use of these sea routes for trading and shipments. The Romans used the Iceni towns to house their soldiers when preparing to secure the south coast routes into Britain. The Romans didnt like leaving troops near newly conquered colonies because it was a waste of their resources. It was much more effective to waste the Icenian resources even though it annoyed the Iceni.

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The Iceni were situated in the southeast of Britain and had borders with the Catuvellauni and the Trinovantes (See map above.) Both the Cativenllani and the Trinovantes traded with the Romans even before the Roman invasion. The Iceni tribe however refused to play any part in this. Later when they were forced to trade with the Romans it was a massive change for all of them. This is arguably one of the more major for the Iceni revolting.

Evidence gathered from the Roman pottery backs this idea up. All over Britain Roman wine jugs (amphora) have been found. Very few of these jugs have been found where the Iceni used to be situated compared with other places such as South Britain. This shows that the rest of Britain traded with the Roman Empire whereas the Iceni had remained very isolated from Roman Culture and therefore were in for a shock later

The Iceni managed to live in peace with the Roman Empire until 47AD when the first battle between The Roman Empire and the Iceni took place. The Dispute was over weapons P.Ostoirus Scapula who was the governor at the time had decided to disarm the Iceni tribe to tighten his grip and increase the control of the Roman Empire over Britain. This must have made the Iceni feel even more dependent on Rome than they already were.

Paul Sealey stated that the Iceni people did not like this as the weapons had played a major part in the role of their religion. This made them angry and caused the small revolution in 47AD against the roman army. There followed a fierce fight in which the Britons ran away. This shows that even from an early stage the Iceni did not like the Romans being in control. According to Paul Sealey The best suggestion for the site of the battles is Stonea Camp, an Iron Age fort on a former island in the Cambridge shire fens occupied from the 100BC.

Boudica became Queen of the Iceni when she married Prasutagus in 48 or 4 AD. Prasutagus was famed for his wealth. When king Prasutagus died in 60AD he made the Emperor of Rome along with his two daughters co-heirs (Camorra and Tasca). Prasutagus by doing this wanted to save his kingdom from attack by the Romans. However this plan of his didnt work and his kingdom and household were plundered and the Iceni chiefs were deprived of their hereditary estates. British law allowed royal inheritance to be passed to daughters in the absence of male heir, but Roman law did not allow woman to take the throne. The Roman administrator Decanius Catus decided that the Iceni had been defeated and he would treat the whole territory as if it had been defeated, Decanius Catus ignored the will of Prasutagus and proceeded to take over the entire kingdom. Roman historian Tacitus wrote

Kingdom and household alike were plundered like prizes of war... for a start, his widow Boudica was flogged and their daughters raped. The chieftains of the Iceni were deprived of their family estates as if the whole country had been handed over to the Romans. The kings own relatives were treated as slaves. The nobility of the Iceni was given rough treatment and arrests were made. The Iceni were helpless at this time. They appealed to the Roman Emperor about the way that Catus Decianus had treated them but the Roman Emperor did nothing.

Tacitus also refers to how Boudica was give a public flogging or put to the rods in public. This too must have been very humiliating for Boudica and also for her two daughters who were flogged and raped. The Iceni must have been a annoyed at this, seeing their queen whipped and hearing about her daughters.

This must have been very embarrassing to the Iceni who had already had their weapons confiscated to tighten the Roman Empires control over them. This angered the Iceni because of all the humiliation, death and conquering.

However to make matters worse for the Iceni the Roman Empire tried to justify this act. Catus Decinaus (who had been the man in charge of the operation) said that Rome was merely trying to reclaim money lent to the rich members of the Iceni by the late Emperor Claudius of Rome. Boudica was really angered by this and promptly revolted. Tacitus tells us how the Iceni feared worse now that they had been reduced to provincial status.

And the humiliated Iceni feared worse now that they had been reduced to provincial status

However there were more reasons than just these three for revolting. The temple of the divine Claudius of Rome stood in Camulodunum ( now Colchester.) The Iceni along with other tribes hated it. It was a blatant stronghold of Roman rule and religion. It was running the country dry and Taxs had been increased to pay for it. The made the locals work there as Priests using there own money to par for it. To make matters worse Camulodunum had now become a colonia (housing for retired soldiers). These solders were the very people who years before had fought for this land; this too must have been very humiliating. The people were the Trinobantes whose ancestors had been killed by the Romans who now occupied their land. Tacitus talks about the Temple in his Annals and describes how people were thrown out of their homes to make way for the Temple of the Divine Claudius

The settlers drove the Trinobantes from their homes and land, and called them prisoners and slaves. The troops encouraged the settlers outrages, since their own way of behaving was the same.

The temple erected to the divine Claudius was a blatant stronghold of alien rule, and its observances were a pretext to make the natives appointed as its priests drain the whole country dry.

When Boudica revolted she acquired the help of the Trinovantes. The Trinovantes also had suffered much abuse from the Romans so were easily persuaded to fight for the cause.

At the time of the revolt there is strong evidence to suggest that the Iceni along with other tribes has been undergoing a famine and crops were having to be imported from the Mediterranean by the Romans to stop the country from starving. Heavy taxs paid in corn to the Romans by the Iceni would have worsened the situation and would have meant that they may have had to gone without food for a long time. Evidence of burnt prunes found at Colchester that contained weeds that could only have originated from the Mediterranean backs up this theory. (Shown above).

Hate had built up over the years and people had learnt to hate the Romans. Evidence from the Trinovantes suggests that the Trinovantes had hated the Roman Empire from when it first invaded under the control of Emperor Claudius in 47AD. Found in the ditches of a town (Colchester) in the area where the Trinovantes had lived a few skulls were found which had sword marks in them, these skulls came from British people (probably / most likely the Trinovantes). This suggests that there had been a small or mini revolt, and therefore the Trinobantes or the people who inhabited this area where getting really angry with the Romans before Boudica decided to revolt in 60.AD. (The Skulls are shown above, you can see the sword marks at the top of them.)

There was not one singular reason why Boudica and the Trinovantes and the Iceni revolted against the Roman Empire in 60AD. The revolt had been caused by a series of events, each one giving the people of Britain more and more of a reason to hate the Roman Empire.

There was no main reason as to why Boudica revolted, I think that it was down to the way that the Tribes had been treated to lead Boudica to revolt in 60AD. In 4AD the Roman Empire under the control of Emperor Claudius had invaded Britain. They had invaded the Icenis and lots of other tribes such as the Trinobantes and Cataicis territory. This had sparked allot of anger among all the tribes in Britain. The Roman Empire forced their laws and culture on the people of Britain. This had caused anger and frustration among the tribes. Temples had been built with the taxes that they had paid. These were blatant strongholds of alien rule. The Romans had oppressed the British people.

The Iceni had been forced to trade with the Romans when they believed it was against their religion. This shocked the Iceni because of the big change.

The Romans had invaded at a time of famine and there is strong evidence to suggest that the Romans were forcing the tribes to pay Taxs in the form of corn & grain this only worsened the situation and all the tribes were angered at this.

Corruption in the roman army had angered the Iceni and other tribes, but especially the Iceni. Their land had been raided and robbed after their king Prasutagus died in 60AD. Boudica had been whipped or put to the rods in public.

All these events one after another had caused the revolt. However I think that the deciding factor was the whipping and indecent assault of Boudica and her two daughters (Camorra and Tasca). This event angered Boudica the most and she started the Revolution.


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