While Rome expanded its reach across Europe and onto the isles of Britannia, not everyone was on board with domination from a distant bureaucracy. Rebellions and uprisings in Roman-held territory were not particularly uncommon, but a series of missteps by Roman governors in what is now the United Kingdom amounted to a series of costly own-goals.
After Caligula’s successor, Claudius, gained a foothold in Britain in AD 43, his armies were forced to put down an uprising four years later, which likely laid the groundwork for a bloody insurgency that nearly cost Rome its entire occupation in AD 60 or 61.
Who was the fierce commander who set the legions of Rome on their heels? It was Boudica of the Iceni, a once Rome-friendly Queen of her people who became an icon of the fury of a woman pushed too far, and a keystone of the modern UK’s national identity.