Monday, April 10, 2017

The Boudicca Gold Hoard

In early 2009, 824 gold staters, worth the modern equivalent of £1m when they were in circulation, were found in a field near Wickham Market, Suffolk. Almost all the coins were minted by royal predecessors of Boudicca, the warrior queen of the Iceni tribe who revolted against Rome in AD 60.
Boudicca's husband Prasutagus was ruler of the Iceni tribe, who had ruled as a nominally independent ally of Rome, and had 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 as if conquered. Boudicca was flogged, her daughters were raped, and Roman financiers called in their loans.

In AD 60 or 61 Boudicca led the Iceni as well as the Trinovantes in revolt. She led 100,000 Iceni, Trinovantes and others to fight the Legio IX Hispana and burned and destroyed Londinium, and Verulamium (modern-day St Albans). An estimated 70,000–80,000 Romans and British were killed in the three cities. The Romans regrouped in the West Midlands, and despite being heavily outnumbered, managed to defeat the Britons in the Battle of Watling Street.

The crisis caused the Emperor Nero to consider withdrawing all Roman forces from Britain, but the eventual victory over Boudicca resecured Roman control of the province. Boudicca either killed herself so she would not be captured, or fell ill and died.