Queen Boudicca: Warpaint Instead of Make Up

Statue of Queen Boudicca.

The last significant uprising against Roman rule occurred in 60 CE, and was led by Queen Boudicca. The uprising was motivated by a resentment for the Roman invaders, stemming from cultural and religious oppression, pillaging and brutality. Boudicca herself, for example, is believed to have suffered flogging, and her daughters are thought to have been raped.

Tribes unite

During the insurrection, Boudicca united several tribes and amassed a large army. This army, which was not afraid to fight and kill, then viciously demolished several Roman settlements, including London. As the rebels thereafter looked to take on the bulk of Rome’s forces in Britain, the Roman army faced one of their greatest fears: a giant horde of warpainted savages ready to indiscriminately attack them from all sides.

Romans outnumbered

At the time of the decisive battle between the two sides, the queen’s army outnumbered the Roman soldiers. Boudicca herself took an active role in the fighting, and as expected, the Britons arbitrarily attacked their enemies. However, despite their bravery, the Britons were now brutally slaughtered, and ultimately, defeated. The Romans, disciplined and experienced in warfare as they were, had managed to hold their positions and make up for their numerical disadvantage in weapon superiority.

Though many of her soldiers died in battle, Boudicca did not. She escaped and is believed to have committed suicide by poisoning herself to avoid being captured. In recognition of this premature death, and for her resistance to foreign occupation, Queen Boudicca was remembered as a freedom-fighter, and to this day she is admired for her courage.