Some of these mutilated statues can be seen today in Colchester Museum.
Boudica Queen of Iceni
Finally Suetonius , who had made a tactical withdrawal fled with his troops into relative safety of the Roman military zone, decided to challenge Boudica. He assembled an army of 10, regulars and auxiliaries, the backbone of which was made up from the 14th Legion. Boudica and her daughters drove round in her chariot to all her tribes before the battle, exhorting them to be brave.
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She cried that she was descended from mighty men but she was fighting as an ordinary person for her lost freedom, her bruised body and outraged daughters. The Britons attacked crowding in on the Roman defensive line. The order was given and a volley of several thousand heavy Roman javelins was thrown into the advancing Britons, followed quickly by a second volley. The lightly armed Britons must have suffered massive casualties within the first minutes of the battle.
The Romans moved in for the kill, attacking in tight formation, stabbing with their short swords. The Britons now had little chance, with so many of them involved in the battle it is likely that their massed ranks worked against them by restricting their movements so they were unable to use their long swords effectively.
To ensure success the Roman cavalry was released which promptly encircled the enemy and began their slaughter from the rear. Seemingly mad with blood lust, Tacitus records that 80, Britons; men, women and children, were killed.
The Roman losses amounted to dead with a slightly larger number wounded. Boudica has secured a special place of her own in British folk history remembered for her courage; The Warrior Queen who fought the might of Rome. And in a way she did get her revenge, as in a bronze statue of her riding high in her chariot, designed by Thomas Thorneycroft , was placed on the Thames embankment next to the Houses of Parliament in the old Roman capital of Britain, Londinium — The ultimate in Girl Power!
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But how much of this story is true, and were there really as many as 11, virgins? Other Iceni chiefs suffered in a like manner and their families were treated like slaves.
Romans, Boudicca and Iceni in Norfolk
Boudica was not killed in the battle but took poison rather than be taken alive by the Romans. Related articles.
It is thought that, fearing capture and torture, Boudicca fled home to her kingdom in southern Britain after the final battle, during which her forces were massacred. Although Dio describes a lavish burial, the locations of neither her death nor the battle are known.
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Further, says archaeologist Richard Hingley of Durham University, if the queen died in battle, the remains would probably have been cleared away along with weapons and debris, leaving little left to find. Subscribe to the Digital Edition!
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