Boudica: The Life of Britain's Legendary Warrior Queen
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Boudica is both a groundbreaking new study and a surprisingly personal history that is a must-read for anyone interested in British or Roman history, feminism, or all things Celtic.
Boudica has been mythologized as the woman who dared to take on the Romans to avenge her daughters, her tribe, and her enslaved country. Her immortality rests on the fact that she almost drove the Romans out of Britain, and her legend has become the reference point for any British woman in power, from Elizabeth I to Margaret Thatcher. As Boudica has become well known as an icon of female leadership and strength, the true story of her revolt against the Roman empire has only become more distant until now. Combining new research and recent archaeological discoveries, Vanessa Collingridge has written a major new biography on this shadowy and often misunderstood figure of ancient history. Boudica provides a detailed history of the Celtomania that has adopted Boudica as its earliest hero, and the nationalist and feminist causes that have also tried to claim her as their own. While tracking the origins and impact of the various versions of the Boudica legend, Collingridge unearths a historical woman who is far subtler but every bit as fascinating as the myths associated with her name.
as someone of high status, he protests too much: such a skilled orator would have known that the denials only served to emphasise that she was very much a woman and a queen, and it is precisely these facts which makes her so captivating a character for his history. Other tricks of rhetoric – something any well-educated Roman man would have to have studied – include the use of “triplets” to add dramatic effect: expressions such as “lost freedom”, “lashed body” and “outraged honour” are followed
Celtic lands, further than any other Roman commander had ever been. If the success of his first year’s campaigning had got him noticed, the mettle of his second year in Gaul would establish his reputation as a great tactician and commander of men. From his base in northern Italy, he now ordered his newly expanded army (from six legions to eight) who had overwintered in Vesontio – modern Besançon, on the Doubs River of eastern France – to prepare themselves again for the coming season. For their
After a mere eighteen days of rampaging through German farms, fields and villages, his troops crossed back over the bridge they had built, and then destroyed it. A point had been made and Germany had served its purpose. It was time to move on. On the coast of what is now the area between Boulogne and Dieppe in northern France, the year-old Roman naval fleet was waiting for its commander. On his journey from the Rhine to the sea, Caesar was met and accompanied by one Gaulish leader whom he had
we got the results of the weapons, I could hardly believe my eyes.” Paul searched on his desk for a moment and then drew out a line-drawing of the grave goods. “Look at this – the iron sword had a bronze scabbard which sported a strip of tin that had been fused right the way down its length – now that’s something I’ve never seen or even heard of before. It’s an amazing piece of craftsmanship: it must have looked spectacular in its day with silvery tin set against the golden-yellow of the bronze.
apparent even from early classical times: as well as being visibly different and therefore “strange” or “other”, there is a suggestion that red hair signified high status in Mediterranean and North African societies, presumably because it would take both time and money to achieve this effect in naturally dark hair. Furthermore, the royal line of the Egyptians stemmed from Macedonia, where natural red hair was not uncommon, and this would also confirm the status of the bearer. Luckily for Boudica,