Warrior Queen

Herbert W. Benario

Emory University

     Although the British tribal queen Boudica has watched over the northeast corner of Westminster Bridge in London for more than a century, I suspect that many Londoners and even fewer tourists have any idea who the woman in the chariot is.  But this relative anonymity may well soon come to an end.  In fact, she may already be on the way to a general renown, of which she may have thought when she led one of the most successful provincial revolts against Roman power.  Her triumph, though ultimately fruitless, ranks her with Arminius as perhaps Rome's most bitter and brutal enemies of the early empire.

     I shall briefly discuss her life and achievements.  I shall then turn to her present resurgence in popular interest.  There was a Masterpiece Theatre offering in the fall of 2003 entitled "Warrior Queen," four movies are presently under considerations, the most significant venture seeming to be that of Mel Gibson, who has stated that the story of Boudica will follow The Passion of the Christ.  The tentative title is Warrior.  A four volume fictional treatment is under way, beautifully crafted by Manda Scott, of which the first two volumes have appeared.  I shall also refer to a splendid novel by George Shipway which appeared some thirty years ago.  Further, about a decade ago an English (female) composer began an opera on Boudica, of which the intended first act has appeared.

     Some have referred to the Gibson project as "Braveheart with a Bra."  Be that as it may, such a movie would likely have enormous success.

     So the Queen Boädicéa, standing loftily charioted,

Brandishing in her hand a dart and rolling glances


Yell'd and shriek'd between her daughters in her fierce


               (Lord Tennyson, BOÄDICEA)

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