Boadicea Haranguing the Britons (called Boudicca, or Boadicea) by John Opie.jpg
Queen Boudica in John Opie's painting Boadicea Haranguing the Britons
Diedc. 60 or 61 AD
Other namesBoudicea, Boadicea, Buddug
OccupationQueen of the Iceni

Boudica or Boudicca (also Boadicea or Boudicea ə/, and known in Welsh as Buddug Welsh pronunciation: [ˈbɨ̞ðɨ̞ɡ])[1][2] was a queen of the British Celtic Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire in AD 60 or 61. She died shortly after its failure and was said to have poisoned herself. She is considered a British folk hero.[3]

Boudica's husband, Prasutagus, ruled as a nominally independent ally of Rome, and left his kingdom jointly to his daughters and to the Roman emperor in his will. However, when he died, his will was ignored, and the kingdom was annexed and his property taken. According to Tacitus, Boudica was flogged and her daughters raped.[4] Cassius Dio explains Boudica's response by saying that previous imperial donations to influential Britons were confiscated and the Roman financier and philosopher Seneca called in the loans he had forced on the reluctant Britons.[5]

In AD 60 or 61, when the Roman governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus was campaigning on the island of Anglesey off the northwest coast of Wales, Boudica led the Iceni, the Trinovantes, and others in revolt.[6] They destroyed Camulodunum (modern Colchester), earlier the capital of the Trinovantes but at that time a colonia, a settlement for discharged Roman soldiers and site of a temple to the former Emperor Claudius. Upon hearing of the revolt, Suetonius hurried to Londinium (modern London), the 20-year-old commercial settlement that was the rebels' next target. He lacked sufficient numbers to defend the settlement, and he evacuated and abandoned Londinium. Boudica led a very large army of Iceni, Trinovantes, and others to defeat a detachment of Legio IX Hispana, and they burned and destroyed Londinium and Verulamium.

An estimated 70,000–80,000 Romans and British were then killed in the three cities by those led by Boudica,[7] many by torture.[7] Suetonius, meanwhile, regrouped his forces, possibly in the West Midlands; despite being heavily outnumbered, he decisively defeated the Britons. The crisis caused Nero to consider withdrawing all Roman forces from Britain, but Suetonius' victory over Boudica confirmed Roman control of the province.

Boudica then either killed herself to avoid capture (according to Tacitus),[8] or died of illness (according to Cassius Dio).[9]

Interest in these events was revived in the English Renaissance and led to Boudica's fame in the Victorian era.[10] Boudica has remained an important cultural symbol in the United Kingdom.


Boudica has been known by several versions of her name. Raphael Holinshed calls her Voadicia, while Edmund Spenser calls her Bunduca, a version of the name that was used in the popular Jacobean play Bonduca, in 1612.[11] William Cowper's poem, Boadicea, an ode (1782) popularised an alternative version of the name.[12] From the 19th century until the late 20th century, Boadicea was the most common version of the name, which is probably derived from a mistranscription when a manuscript of Tacitus was copied in the Middle Ages.

Her name was clearly spelled Boudicca in the best manuscripts of Tacitus, but also Βουδουικα, Βουνδουικα, and Βοδουικα in the (later and probably secondary) epitome of Cassius Dio.

Kenneth Jackson concludes, based on later development of Welsh and Irish, that the name derives from the Proto-Celtic feminine adjective *boudīkā, "victorious", that in turn is derived from the Celtic word *boudā, "victory" (cf. Irish bua (Classical Irish buadh), Buaidheach, Welsh buddugoliaeth), and that the correct spelling of the name in Common Brittonic (the British Celtic language) is Boudica, pronounced Celtic pronunciation: [bɒʊˈdiːkaː]. The Gaulish version is attested in inscriptions as Boudiga in Bordeaux, Boudica in Lusitania, and Bodicca in Algeria.[13][14]

The closest English equivalent to the vowel in the first syllable is the ow in "bow-and-arrow".[15] John Rhys suggested that the most comparable Latin name, in meaning only, would be "Victorina".[16]

Other Languages
العربية: بوديكا
asturianu: Boudica
Bân-lâm-gú: Boudicca
беларуская: Баўдзіка
български: Боудика
brezhoneg: Boudika
català: Budicca
čeština: Boudicca
dansk: Boudicca
Deutsch: Boudicca
eesti: Boudicca
Ελληνικά: Βοαδίκεια
español: Boudica
Esperanto: Budiko
euskara: Budika
فارسی: بودیکا
français: Boadicée
Gaeilge: Buadaca
galego: Boadicea
한국어: 부디카
հայերեն: Բոուդիկա
Bahasa Indonesia: Boudica
italiano: Boudicca
עברית: בודיקיאה
Latina: Boudicca
latviešu: Būdika
magyar: Boudica
македонски: Будика
Malagasy: Boudica
മലയാളം: ബൊവാഡിസിയ
Bahasa Melayu: Boudica
Nederlands: Boudica
日本語: ブーディカ
norsk: Boudicca
polski: Boudika
português: Boadiceia
română: Boudica
русский: Боудикка
Scots: Boudica
සිංහල: බූඩිකා
Simple English: Boudica
slovenčina: Boudica
српски / srpski: Будика
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Budika
suomi: Boudicca
svenska: Boudicca
Tagalog: Boudica
Türkçe: Boudica
українська: Боудіка
Tiếng Việt: Boudica
Winaray: Boudica
中文: 布狄卡