My daughter is studying the Romans at school and I was faced with one aspect of the teaching of history that was new to me that was the pronunciation of the warrior queen of the Iceni who led the resistance against the Roman legions in the 1st century AD- Boudica. Is it said Bow-der- ceea or Bud-dica? It seems that the later is the correct way and the error was the result of some ancient scribe incorrectly translating a text. It is a truism that history is written by the victors and the Roman historians who write about the invasion of Celtic Britain portrayed the natives as barbarians. We get a picture of an uncivilised, motley collection of peoples, undisciplined, unkempt who lived in mud huts and engaged in human sacrifice. The chroniclers write about the Ancient Britons as having moustaches on which morsels of food hung and favoured trousers as opposed to the toga.
I read a book over the New Year which showed an entirely different picture of the inhabitants of these islands prior to the Romans. Take one example that the country had no roads and the Romans built them. According to the Ancient Paths by Graham Robb the road system of the Celts in
Britain was sophisticated and as
evidence he cites the chariots of the Celts which the Romans later adapted. I
recall a complete chariot dating from this time was excavated in Yorkshire recently. The Ancient Britons also had towns
called oppidum which the Romans later took over. Chester,
St Albans and Leicester are just a few
examples. They had trading links throughout Europe.
The Druids were guardians of an advanced education system which utilised
astronomy. In short, they were not the uncouth; illiterate savages that Roman
propagandists like Tacitus attempted to make out.
The Staffordshire Moorlands at the time of the Roman invasion lay in a border zone between tribes. To the west up to the Welsh border was the territory of the Cornovii. They had townships on what became
and Wroxeter. They liked to wear torcs or necklaces of twisted gold. They were
expert in weaving and dyeing, and loved bright colours. Women wore their hair
in two thick thigh-length plaits. They resisted the legions and Caratacus their
leader made a last stand in the Shropshire Hills. To the north were the
Brigantes who ruled Northern England.
Their leader was Queen Cartimandua, who ruled the Brigantes for the next few years in comparative quiet before a rebellion was put down with the support of the Romans. In the east covering what is Derbyshire, Leicestershire and