Boudiccan Revolt Essay Definition

Rebellion Of Queen Boudica Essay

Rebellion of Queen Boudica

Prasutagus, client king of the Iceni after the Roman invasion of
Britain, realised that his province was in danger when he died, so he
decided to write up a will, in which he said that the Emperor Nero
would receive half, while the other half went to his two daughters
(Under British law, if the king had no male heir, he could leave his
estate to his daughters, but not in Roman law). The Iceni tribe was
ransacked, with even the highest men being treated as slaves. Boudica
herself was flogged while her daughters were raped; this was the last
straw for the majority of Britons.

When Britain was invaded by the Emperor Claudius, it was decided that
to prevent upheaval, some tribes would be allowed to keep there kings,
which would make the tribes think they had control of themselves,
while infact it was the Romans who controlled them by using the king
like a marionette. However when these “client kings” died, the tribes
land and riches would be seized. Prasutagus, suspecting this, decided
to leave a will so that his daughters, wife and tribe would be safe,
in it, he left to the emperor of Rome.

When he did die in AD 60, Nero (the new Roman Emperor) decided that
half was not good enough, and that all the assets must be seized, so
it was taken, however iceni resistance was fierce, but, ultimately in
vein, to make an example, Boudica, the wife of Prasutagus was flogged,
while her daughters were raped. This more than anything led to the
rebellion, which brought Roman control in Britain to its knees.

But it would be wrong to say that this was the only cause of the
rebellion, events that predated this also caused anger within the
Iceni and other tribes. Ludicrous taxation was put in place, which
were almost impossible to pay, so ". . . in the hope of receiving a
good rate of interest, had lent to the islanders 40,000,000 sesterces
that they did not want, and had afterwards called in this loan all at
once and had resorted to severe measures in exacting it.- Seneca”
However, the act that in the eyes of the Iceni was a crime against
them, there ancestors and there Gods was the confiscation of weapons,
due to the paranoia of the emperor. Weapons to the Iceni were not just
a means of fighting; they were a way of praying to the Gods, and
confiscation was a form of sacrilege.

So Boudica rounded together the Iceni and the Trinovantes, and said
this: "Listen to me. You know the difference between freedom and
slavery. Before the Romans came, we were free. Now we are slaves. When
the Romans invaded us they robbed us of our riches. Now they continue
to rob us by making us pay taxes. Every year we work on our land- and
for what? So that they can take away all that we earn. I would rather
die in battle than have to pay taxes. But why do I mention death? Even
death...

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Boudicca was and still is in the eyes of many a national hero. Boudicca is an extremely important part of English and Roman history as she led the only revolt that actually threatened the Roman rule in Britain. Boudicca’s attitude was a true reflection of the way all Celtic people felt about the Roman rule. It is because of this that she was able to unit many Celts on a common cause, during a time of a great cultural and national change. Yet, like all humans Boudicca had her flaws, and though rare on occasions she made irrational choices.
Boudicca lived and died in the first century, a time when the Roman Empire was continuing to expand. Although the Romans first expedition to Briton (modern day Britain) was carried out by Julius Caesar in 55 BC it was nearly one hundred years later that the Romans under Emperor Claudius in 43 AD that a full scale invasion was launched.
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For the Iceni people, being a client kingdom meant that that they were allowed to keep their king and queen, and they didn’t have to pay taxes. Yet in 60 AD after Seventeen years of Roman Rule this all ended for the Iceni people. Queen Boudicca's husband King Prasutagus, in an attempt to secure a future for his family and his people, made a will leaving just half of his wealth to his family while the other half went to the Roman Empire. However when Prasutagus died the Romans took no notice of his will, instead they sent soldiers to his home. These soldiers confiscated all of the family wealth including the royal home, and announced that the Iceni nobles were to be enslaved and striped of their estates. Boudicca took this matter to a higher Roman authority. Instead of having her case heard she was publicly stripped and lashed, and her two daughters were raped.
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