Britain and Boudicca’s Revolt (includes secondary source)

The diverse tribes of northern Europe, including the Celtic Britons, presented interesting challenges for their Roman conquerors.

Boudicca (one of many spellings) was Queen of the Iceni, one of the Celtic tribes with which the Romans dealt in the 1st century.
Queen Boudica by John Opie [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
What little we know about her and her revolt against the Romans comes from the Roman historian Tacitus. Her story however, has lived on English and British history and she’s become something of a national symbol. In this section we have Tacitus’s account of the Boudicca revolt as well as a discussion by present-day historians about what we can really know about these events and their impact throughout the centuries.

BBC Radio 4: In Our Time podcast on Boudicca (~45 minutes)
Excerpts from Tacitus, Annals

Questions for consideration:

  1. According to Tacitus, how did the revolt begin?
  2. What impression of Boudicca do you have from reading the Tacitus account? Provide specific examples to back up your claims.
  3. What is the view of the historians on the podcast about this account? What might or might not be accurate?
  4. According to the historians on the podcast, how has the image of Boudicca changed in Britain over the centuries? What does she mean as a symbol?