How important was Boudicca in the Romano-British period?

Learning objectives

  • To contrast two Roman accounts of Boudicca.
  • To consider the draw backs in trusting either Roman account.
  • To analyse key events in the context of levels of interest to Roman rule.
  • To begin to question Boudicca's significance.



Possible Teaching Objectives

  • Display Cassius' description of Boudicca listed in the resources column. Read to the class. Ask which of the images of Boudicca already seen this description most agrees with. Pupils will probably volunteer the answer " Warrior Queen". Have the image from the film ready to pull up on the whiteboard. Lead a discussion on whether the agreement between Cassius description and the DVD cover proves that "Warrior Queen" is accurate in its depiction of Boudicca. Drop in the fact that Cassius was writing at least 100 years after Boudicca's revolt at a time when it was dangerous to challenge the roman authorities (even retrospectively), about a past event.
  • Display Tacitus' description of Boudicca listed in the resources column. Read to the class. Lead a class discussion on whether the presence of the author's father-in-law at the battle makes this description likely to be more accurate than that of Cassius. Introduce the idea that the descriptions may have drawn details from an eye witness to the battle (his father-in-law) but ask if Tacitus might have a motive for building up Boudicca's reputation. Ask "Could Tacitus have made Boudicca look better that she really was? Would it make the Romans appear stronger and braver if Boudicca seemed like a hero?" Would it make Tacitus family look good?"
  • Display the living graph listed in the resources column on an interactive whiteboard. The horizontal axis consists of a timeline showing the centuries of roman intervention and occupation when southern Britain formed the Roman province of Britannia. The vertical axis is a form of querying the amount of control exercised by the Romans over the time period, ranging from "under control" to "out of control".
  • Distribute paper copies of the living graph to groups of pupils. Cut up the timeline listed in the resources column into a set of cards for each group. Ask groups of pupils to arrange the events on the cards in Chronological order along the horizontal axis of the living graph and then plot them against the vertical axis for the degree of Roman control. Retrieve the cards and place a card on the graph where end one was placed.
  • When the group work is complete, lead a discussion on the pattern of control identified by each group across their living graph. Ask, "When was Roman control strongest?" When were the Romans weakest?" etc. All groups will have slightly different views but are likely to have other events as being an equal or greater challenge to Roman rule than Boudicca's revolt. Pose the question "Why then do we focus on Boudicca?"

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