Boadicea, Or Boudicea, queen of the Iceni, a British tribe inhabiting what are now the counties of Cambridge, Suffolk, Norfolk, and Hertford, died about A. D. 02. Her husband, Prasu-tagus, the king of the Iceni, dying, left the emperor Nero and his own two daughters joint heirs to his great wealth, hoping thereby to preserve his family and kingdom from the rapacity of the conquerors. But his kingdom was immediately taken possession of by the Roman centurions. For some real or imaginary offence the British queen was publicly scourged, and her daughters were abandoned to the lust of the slaves. Taking advantage of the absence of Suetonius Paulinus, the Roman governor, from that part of England, Boadicea raised the whole military force of her barbarians, and bursting at their head upon the Roman colony of London, burned the city and put to the sword in that and neighboring places at least 70,000 Roman citizens, traders, Italians, and other subjects of the empire. Suetonius hurried to the scene of action from the Isle of Man. The queen of the Iceni was in command of 120,000 troops, which gradually increased to as many as 230,000, according to Dion Cassius, while Suetonius could bring into the field fewer than 10,000 soldiers.

The battle was fiercely contested, and Boadicea displayed great valor; but her troops being finally obliged to yield to the disciplined Romans, she took poison. The victors spared nothing; women, children, the beasts of burden, the dogs, were all cut to pieces. It is said that 80,000 Britons were butchered that day, while of the legionaries only 400 fell, and about as many more were wounded. It is believed that the action took place not far from Verulamium (St. Albans), a Roman colony, which at the first irruption had shared the fate of London.