Slaughter, Fire and Gibbet: Boudica – Archaeology, History and Legacy

This talk explores the story of Boudica, leader of a bloody rebellion against Roman rule in AD 60, interrogating the Roman historical sources, the archaeology of her war, and her continued importance as a symbol of rebellion and defiance.Boudica’s war against Roman subjugation in AD 60 has come down to us in three surviving Roman texts, by two different authors. These provide a broad campaign narrative of the war, and everything that we know of Boudica as a person. The archaeological record often supports this history, enabling more intimate stories to be teased out of the destruction layers. Combining these threads of evidence has allowed for a detailed reconstruction of the war, particularly in the towns destroyed, but how far can that reconstruction be superimposed on the wider, modern landscape? Boudica did not survive her war, but her identity as a rebel, warrior woman lives on, variously appearing as an icon of the women’s suffrage movement, a heroine of British imperialism and nationalism, and as symbol of rebellion against unjust authority.


Duncan Mackay is an archaeologist and writer with a lifelong interest in Boudica. He worked as a field archaeologist for many years, mostly with the University of Cambridge Archaeological Unit. He is the author of Echolands – A Journey in Search of Boudica, published by Hodder and Stoughton 2023.

Curated & Hosted by

Marguerite Johnson is a cultural historian of the ancient Mediterranean, specialising in sexuality and gender, particularly in the poetry of Sappho, Catullus, and Ovid, as well as magical traditions in Greece, Rome, and the Near East. She also researches Classical Reception Studies, with a regular focus on Australia. In addition to ancient world studies, Marguerite is interested in sexual histories in modernity as well as magic in the west more broadly, especially the practices and art of Australian witch, Rosaleen Norton. She is Honorary Professor of Classics and Ancient History at The University of Queensland, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

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1st Sept 2024 8:00 pm - 09:30 pm

£6 - £10 & By Donation

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