Boudica: Etymology and Profile

by 5ocietyx

Boudica (also known as Boudicca/Boadicea, Welsh Buddug (d. AD 60 or 61) was queen of the Iceni tribe of Britons who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire. As all records of the British people were supposedly destroyed by the Romans, knowledge of Boudica comes only from them.

Tacitus and Dio agree that Boudica was of royal descent. Dio says that she was “possessed of greater intelligence than often belongs to women”, that she was tall and had hair described as red, reddish-brown, or tawny hanging below her waist. Dio also says she had a harsh voice and piercing glare, and habitually wore a large golden necklace (perhaps a torc), a many-coloured tunic, and a thick cloak fastened by a brooch.

 

Etymology of the name ‘Boudica’

Tacitus the Roman clearly spelled the name Boudicca. other Roman inscriptions spell the name as Boudica(Lusitania), Boudiga (Bordeaux), and Bodicca (Algeria)

Kenneth Jackson concludes the correct spelling of the name in the British language is Boudica, pronounced [bɒʊˈdiːkaː], and that the name derives from the Proto-Celtic feminine adjective *boudīka, meaning “victorious”, that in turn was derived from the Celtic word *bouda, “victory” (cf. Irish bua (Classical Irish buadh), Buaidheach, Welsh buddugoliaeth).

The closest English equivalent to the vowel in the first syllable is the ow in “bow-and-arrow”). The modern English pronunciation is /ˈbdɪkə/, and it has been suggested that the most comparable English name, in meaning only, would be “Victoria”. This led to a revival of Boudica during the reign of Queen Victoria, who was often portrayed as the rebel queen, heading an empire upon which the sun never set.

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