June 22, 2012 by Vicki
Miranda Aldhouse-Green’s Boudica Britannia reveals the social, political and religious events surrounding Boudica’s rebellion. I totally enjoyed this book, although, I did have some complaints. The amount of historical data contained within this book cannot be calculated. Miranda Aldhouse-Green’s makes use of contemporary writers, archaeological research, also the writing from the time period.
Boudica Britannia’s organization allows even the most uninformed reader to easily follow along. I appreciated the fact that Miranda Aldhouse-Green never assumed that the reader would already have knowledge regarding the subject. She explains any terms that she uses and puts them into a historical context. She also refers back to her previous discussions in case the reader does not remember the specific reference.
I also appreciated the number of important women that Miranda Aldhouse-Green refers to and explores. I had no idea that such a wealth of strong women existed at this time. She also explores the different type of female strength that exists by comparing Boudica to another contemporary female leader Cartimandua. Cartimandua used her sexual prowess to facilitate her powers and also used theRoman Empireto back up her strength. Boudica, on the other hand, used her own strength and will power to lead and support a rebellion against the empire. It is interesting to note that even writers from that time period respected Boudica and her strength far more than Cartimandua despite Cartimandua being a Roman ally.
Boudica Britannia also explores the role of religion, specifically the druids during the Boudica rebellion. It suggests that Boudica had the full support of the druids before and during her rebellion. Boudica may have had training in the Druid ways and that may have been one of the sources of her leadership. I found it interesting how frequently women gained power within the older religions. Female power within religion, as depicted in this book, balanced between authority and containment. Female spiritual leaders would be prohibited direct contact with the outside world. Their connection with the divine gave them power and, at the same time, took away their autonomy.
My complaints about Boudica Britannia stem from Boudica absence from the book. Boudica Britannia only discusses the actions and life of Boudica in one chapter. The rest centers on what created the tensions and resentments. I understand part of the problem is that we do not have very much information about Boudica herself. I had difficulty though because the author seemed to side with the Romans in the rebellion. I found this slightly confusing. The rest of the book supports the idea that the Roman’s abused their powers and oppressed the Britons. Yet, when Boudica rebelled, Romans became the victims? I did not understand this sudden switch of support at the second to last chapter. I also did not appreciate the referencing to current events in theMiddle East. Another book, at least, would be required to fully outline the reasons and difficulties that exist in theMiddle East. I did not find the references appropriate.
Overall, I enjoyed Miranda Aldhouse-Green’s Boudica Britannia. It was extremely well-written and full of historical information that I was unaware of. If you wish to start researching Boudica; I would recommend starting with this book. Miranda Aldhouse-Green provides a full bibliography in the back which would also assist in beginning any research project.