- Boudicca has just turned sixteen when the novel opens. She is very
much a free spirit and rebels inwardly against the pomp and ceremony of royal
life. How does the author show Boudicca’s rebellion? Also, how does Boudicca
actually handle her royal duty?
- As Boudicca leaves Diviticus and runs down to the banks of the Devon
River she searches for Linnea who has been her friend since early childhood.
Linnea is the daughter of a farmer, a way of life described as very simple,
all about subsistence, with long hours of labor. Despite the difficult life
Linnea was born into, what is her character like? What does it show about
Boudicca that despite her royal birth she embraces Linnea as a friend?
- Nature plays a large part throughout the entire novel. It is very
much present as Boudicca runs down the hill beneath her palace toward the
beautiful Devon River and roams the countryside as a teenager on her beloved
pony Tricerbantes. It continues throughout as Queen Boudicca picnics with her
daughters in the countryside and surrounds the many precious meetings she has
with Venutius. It is there contrasting the horror of the many battles Boudicca
leads, and surrounds the characters as they make their final decisions in the
novel. Why do you think the author chose to feature nature so
- Boudicca is attracted to Venutius and he to her and the two spend
many happy and carefree times together. But, true to her royal heritage
Boudicca must wed a tribal chieftain of her father’s choosing. Boudicca’s
father promised her he would not make an alliance for her with someone she did
not like. Did he keep his promise? What was the impact of Boudicca’s arranged
marriage on Venutius? On Boudicca?
- Prasutagus is a very kind and thoughtful husband to Boudicca and she
returns his caring. But, she does not agree with his political views when he
decides to make a pact with the Romans when they invade Briton, giving up all
rights to bear arms and bearing the burden of severe taxes to go into the
Roman coffers, rather than fight for their freedom as her friend and chieftain
Caractacus has done for several years. She remains a dutifully silent wife on
the matter. Do you think she made the right decision?
- Boudicca is delighted at the birth of both her daughters and spends
many happy hours travelling the countryside, picnicking and enjoying idle time
together with them as they grow. How do you think she handled her relationship
with them given her many royal duties as queen of a very large and wealthy
- The Romans honored the pact that Prasutagus made with them during
his lifetime as a client-king of the Roman empire after the Roman army invaded
Briton. In his will he left half of his great wealth to the Roman emperor and
half to his daughters in the hope that this would protect Boudicca and the
Iceni people from Rome after his death. But, it did not. What did these
decisions say about the character of Prasutagus? How did Boudicca differ from
her husband in these matters?
- When the Roman veterans’ colony of Camulodunum attacked the Iceni
after the death of Prasutagus, and humiliated Boudicca publicly by flogging
her in front of her tribespeople, how did she take the attack? What did
breaking the pact that they had honored with Prasutagus and attacking Boudicca
say about the Romans’ attitude toward women?
- During the attack upon her, Boudicca thought of the pain of the
beating but her first thoughts were also of the safety of her daughters. How
did she respond when she found them and realized they had been attacked?
- After the attack Boudicca saw to it that her daughters were nursed
back to health with the help of a group of Iceni women. But, when she herself
recovered, she enlisted the help of retired Iceni warriors who had not been
taken as slaves by the Romans to teach her the art of battle. She also took
her daughters into battle with her to ride alongside her. What message did
that send to her daughters? What message did it send to the Romans?
- Women were not warriors in Celtic society. Boudicca’s reasons for
fighting the Roman invaders were very clear. She was avenging her public
flogging, the vicious attack upon her young daughters, and fighting for the
freedom from oppression for the tribes of her beloved countryside. She had to
convince the thousands of warriors who were all men to follow her. What do you
think convinced the warriors to follow Boudicca into battle?
- Boudicca gained a lot of victories, including freeing Londinium, the
largest port city in Briton. But, due to the superior military training and
strength of the Roman army, she eventually lost the battle, making the
decision to take her own life so the Celts who survived would have a symbol of
valor than one of humiliation in a queen who would be dragged about the
streets of Rome and jeered at and finally put to death in disgrace. Boudicca’s
valiant rebellion was the last before Rome actually took over England. Rome
obviously won the physical war. But Rome as a conquering power declined
centuries ago and we still celebrate Boudicca in story, poetry, and song and
with her statue prominently displayed over the River Thames in London. Who do
you think won the war of ideas?
- In this book, the author depicts Boudicca as just another teenager,
albeit a royal one, roaming her countryside and enjoying all the beauties of
nature the British lands have to offer. As a queen she is rather placid, going
along with her husband’s political views and decisions rather than
interjecting her own which are opposite to the views of her husband on the
invasion of Rome. But, when the slothful veterans of the nearby town of
Camulodunum decide to take advantage of her widowed state and break the pact
which Rome had sealed with her late husband, she rebels and leads an army to
near victory. There were many atrocities practiced against the numerous tribes
Rome conquered in the many lands they invaded. What do you think made Boudicca
stand up to the Romans rather than take a docile stand which obviously most of
the conquered victims of Rome’s invasions took?
- Boudicca is depicted in most writings as a fierce warrior, often
depicting her as a fierce hunter as early as the age of seven. Yet, there is
no knowledge of this since the only known writings we have of Boudicca have
been written by the Romans many years after the facts and deal only with her
rebellion against the Roman army. Yet, this author depicts Boudicca as a
normal youth without warrior-like tendencies and even depicts her as a normal
and tender wife and mother without fierce tendencies. Why do you think people
have assumed she was fierce at the age of seven? Do you think that writers
have assumed all famous generals, all of whom were male, throughout history
have been fierce hunters at the age of seven?
- Courage comes in many forms, often showing itself in the smallest
detail. It is not only famous great deeds that make up courage. Often, people
show great courage every day, even in the smallest way. Do you think that
courage is inborn, as many people would have us believe by depicting Boudicca
as fierce from early childhood? Or, do you think it resides in every one of us,
ready to show itself when we make a decision to call on it?
- Boudicca made the decision to take her own life so the Celts would
have a symbol of courage rather than one of disgrace and defeat. She also
cared for the safety of her daughters as she did this. As the author tells us
in the endnote, Boudicca’s battle was the last fought against the Romans
before complete defeat, when many Celts escaped the Romans by fleeing to what
is now Ireland. The Celts who remained in what is now England became
“Romanized”, sublimating their culture to that of the Romans. What do you
think Boudicca’s legacy to history and humanity was? What do you think the
Celts’ legacy to humanity was?