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Queen of the Iceni tribe, Boudicca with her daughters (nowyn/ Adobe Stock)

Boudica Iberian Warrior Queen Who Said No To Rome

At a time when the Western Atlantic region was not nations, but confederations of loose tribes or clans, there were no frontiers like there are today. The western Iberian tribes lived in hillforts, and they would join together and run rings round the Roman armies, waving the captured Roman standards from the hilltops. These were peoples who left only legends, songs, stones and wisdom. They lived in prettily-colored circular houses in a closely-knit society with no centralized government. From the origins of these Iberian warriors came one of the greatest warrior queens of antiquity – the woman who said ‘No’ to Rome, Boudica.

Argemela - place of ancient Celtic hillfort (Image: Courtesy of Michael Severin 2017)

Argemela - place of ancient Celtic hillfort (Image: Courtesy of Michael Severin 2017)

Two Centuries Of Subjugating Iberia

The Romans took over 200 years to subdue Iberia after the Punic Wars. They only eventually subdued the western part of Iberia after dismantling the hillforts. Their continuation northwards to Germania and Gaul and then to Britain overstretched them, and Caesar was forced to abandon the mission. The space of time between his attempts to conquer Britain in 55 BC and the next serious attempt under Claudius was about 90 years. During this time, the Romans adopted a military system similar to that which Hannibal Barca had used 200 years before. They would use auxiliary units made up of the indigenous tribes whose lands they had conquered, and a great many of these came from Iberia.  Some Iberian auxiliary regiments were the first to enter Britain. They were paid and offered Roman citizenship as a reward, to motivate the young mercenaries and thus maintain a consistent, loyal army.


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