Boudicca: The Warrior Queen by M. J. Trow
'She was tall and terrible, with a great mass of red hair to her hips. She wore a twisted torc and a tunic of many colours ...She carried a spear to instil terror in all who saw her.' Dio Cassius In AD 61 Roman governor Suetonius Paullinus, a veteran of mountain warfare in Africa, led a crushing defeat by the 14th and 20th legions of Boudicca's revolt. The defeat of Boudicca in effect made the Roman occupation of Britain possible - a victory would at the very least have seriously delayed it and possibly altered the whole course of the country's history. Among the British, women could inherit land, rule whole areas, lead armies. Boudicca did all three. And what made her revolt in AD 61 so terrifying was that she united other tribes under her and all but destroyed Rome's power base in the country. Boudicca herself left a twofold legacy. Surviving Paullinus' crushing defeat of her troops, she is traditionally alleged to have taken poison, along with her daughters. She had taken on the might of the greatest power of the ancient world and nearly driven it out of part of its empire; the Britons mourned her deeply and gave her a costly burial. Speeches attributed to her by the Romans on the eve of battle illustrate that they went in awe of her. Not for nothing does her bronze effigy, sculpted by Thomas Thorneycroft, stare out from its pedestal on Westminster Bridge, her back to the city she once burned to the ground.