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 (Latinised as 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, and died shortly after its failure, having supposedly 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 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 provides an alternative explanation for Boudica's response, 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. The Romans, having concluded that they lacked sufficient numbers to defend the settlement, evacuated and abandoned Londinium. Boudica led 100,000 Iceni, Trinovantes, and others to fight Legio IX Hispana, and burned and destroyed Londinium and Verulamium (modern-day St Albans).[7][8]

An estimated 70,000–80,000 Romans and British were then killed in the three cities by those led by Boudica.[9] Gibbeting was one of the methods said by Tacitus and Cassius Dio to have been used by Boudica's army.[9] Suetonius, meanwhile, regrouped his forces in the West Midlands, and, despite being heavily outnumbered, defeated the Britons in the Battle of Watling Street. The crisis caused Nero to consider withdrawing all Roman forces from Britain, but Suetonius' eventual victory over Boudica confirmed Roman control of the province. Boudica then either killed herself to avoid capture, or died of illness. The extant sources, Tacitus[10] and Cassius Dio, differ.[11]

Interest in these events was revived in the English Renaissance and led to Boudica's fame in the Victorian era.[12] Boudica has remained an important cultural symbol in the United Kingdom. The absence of native British literature during the early part of the first millennium means that knowledge of Boudica's rebellion comes solely from the writings of the Romans.


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.[13] William Cowper's poem, Boadicea, an ode (1782) popularised an alternative version of the name.[14] 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.[15][16]

The closest English equivalent to the vowel in the first syllable is the ow in "bow-and-arrow".[17] John Rhys suggested that the most comparable Latin name, in meaning only, would be "Victorina".[18]

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: Budicca
עברית: בודיקיאה
Latina: Boudicca
latviešu: Būdika
magyar: Boudica
македонски: Будика
Malagasy: Boudica
മലയാളം: ബൊവാഡിസിയ
Bahasa Melayu: Boudicca
Nederlands: Boudicca
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