Approximate extent of the Iceni Territory
CapitalVenta Icenorum
(Caistor St. Edmund)
-Lincolnshire Fens
  South Holland
-Cambridgeshire Fens
  Fenland, East Cambridgeshire
-AKA The Fens

The Iceni / or Eceni were a Brittonic tribe of eastern Britain during the Iron Age and early Roman era. Their territory included present-day Norfolk and parts of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, and bordered the area of the Corieltauvi to the west, and the Catuvellauni and Trinovantes to the south. In the Roman period, their capital was Venta Icenorum at modern-day Caistor St Edmund.[1][2]

Julius Caesar does not mention the Iceni in his account of his invasions of Britain in 55 and 54 BC, though they may be related to the Cenimagni, who Caesar notes as living north of the River Thames at that time. The Iceni were a significant power in eastern Britain during Claudius' conquest of Britain in AD 43, in which they allied with Rome. Increasing Roman influence on their affairs led to revolt in AD 47, though they remained nominally independent under king Prasutagus until his death around AD 60. Roman encroachment after Prasutagus' death led his wife Boudica to launch a major revolt from 60–61. Boudica's uprising seriously endangered Roman rule in Britain and resulted in the burning of Londinium and other cities. The Romans finally crushed the rebellion, and the Iceni were increasingly incorporated into the Roman province.[1][2]


The meaning of the name Iceni (Latin: Icēnī, Classical Latin: [ɪˈkeː.niː]) is uncertain. In his 1658 treatise "Hydriotaphia, or Urn Burials", the English polymath Thomas Browne claims that the Iceni got their name from the Iken, the old name for the River Ouse, where the Iceni were said to have originated.[3] Robert Henry (1771) refers to a suggested naming from the Brittonic word ychen meaning oxen.[4] Ych (s.) and Ychen (pl.) are still used in modern Welsh.[5]

Icenian coins dating from the 1st century AD use the spelling ECEN:[6] another article by D. F. Allen titled “The Coins of the Iceni,” discusses the difference between coins with the inscription ECE versus coins with ECEN. This difference, Allen posits, tells archaeologists and historians when Prasutagus started his reign because the coins did not start reading the name of the tribe until around AD 47. Allen suggests that when Antedios was king of the Iceni, the coins did not yet have the name of the tribe on them but instead the name of its ruler, stating, "If so, the coins suggest that the Prasutagus era commenced only after the events of 47" (Allen 16).[7]

The word ECHEN in Welsh as given by the Owen-Pughe etymological dictionary of 1832, which evolved from the native language of Britain at that time, means origin or source; a tribe or nation. The current Dictionary of the Welsh Language defines Echen as meaning stock, lineage, family, tribe, source, origin, nature.[8]

Other Languages
Bân-lâm-gú: Iceni
български: Ицени
brezhoneg: Ikened
català: Icens
Чӑвашла: Иценсем
Cymraeg: Iceni
dansk: Icener
Deutsch: Icener
español: Icenos
français: Iceni
Gaeilge: Ícéinigh
galego: Icenos
hrvatski: Iceni
Bahasa Indonesia: Iceni
italiano: Iceni
עברית: איקני
Latina: Iceni
magyar: Icenusok
Bahasa Melayu: Iceni
Nederlands: Iceni
日本語: イケニ族
norsk: Ikenere
norsk nynorsk: Icenarar
polski: Icenowie
português: Icenos
română: Iceni
русский: Ицены
shqip: Isenien
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Iceni
suomi: Ikeenit
svenska: Icener
Türkçe: Iceni
українська: Іцени
中文: 爱西尼