Friday, February 12, 2010

Little Red Hen

This is OC and Boadicea.

Boudicca (also spelled Boadicea, Boudica) was the wife of King Prasutagus of the Celtic Iceni of East Anglia. She led a famous revolt against Roman rule in Britain in AD 60.

The Romans invaded England in AD 43. Unless the native population recognized the advantage of being part of the Empire, there could be no political security, and their interests, if not with Rome, would be with themselves. This principle of governance apparently was not appreciated by the procurator, who, as the chief financial administrator of the province, treated the inhabitants, instead, as a defeated enemy.

Tacitus recounts the complaints of the Iceni: the governor tyrannized their persons; the procurator, their possessions. "Their gangs of centurions or slaves, as the case may be, mingle violence and insult. Nothing is any longer safe from their greed and lust. In war it is the braver who takes the spoil; as things stand with us, it is mostly cowards and shirkers that rob our homes, kidnap our children and conscript our men."

Even the royal house of the Iceni was not immune. When the king died, the client relationship with Rome and status of the tribe as civitates peregrinae (Roman subjects, but not full Roman citizens) ended. Still, half the kingdom was left to Nero in the hope that the remaining possessions could thereby be preserved for his two daughters.

From Tacitus' Annals:
"Kingdom and household alike were plundered like prizes of war, the one by Roman officers, the other by Roman slaves. As a beginning, his widow Boudicca was flogged and their daughters raped. The Icenian chiefs were deprived of their hereditary estates as if the Romans had been given the whole country. The king's own relatives were treated like slaves."

Boudicca rebelled, and was joined by other tribes against the Roman army in the area at the time. The Roman soldiers took refuge in the temple (of Claudius), but after two days, it fell. Legio IX, understrength and marching south from its camp at Longthorpe some eighty miles away was ambushed and defeated. The procurator fled to Gaul, and Boudica marched on Londinium (London). As Tacitus records,

"Neither before nor since has Britain ever been in a more uneasy or dangerous state. Veterans were butchered, colonies burned to the ground, armies isolated. We had to fight for our lives before we could think of victory."

With her daughters in front of her, Boudica drove her chariot among the tribes, shouting encouragement as the assembled Britons, compressed in the defile, struggled to come onto open ground. The Romans waited, hurled their javelins, and then shouldered their way forward in wedge formation, hacking their way through the throng.

Later, the governor of Brittania, Suetonius Paullinus, lead a force that defeated the rebels. Lots of people died, end of local rebellion. It is thought that Boudica poisoned herself.

---- various articles, web

And so, we bestowed the honorous name to our biggest little red hen, who hopefully will have an easier life than her namesake.

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