Wednesday, March 31, 2021

31st March


The statue of Boudicca at Westminster

Talking about religion, war and women

"On the shore stood the opposing army with its dense array of armed warriors, while between the ranks dashed women, in black attire like the Furies, with hair dishevelled, waving brands. All around, the Druids, lifting up their hands to heaven, and pouring forth dreadful imprecations, scared our soldiers by the unfamiliar sight, so that, as if their limbs were paralysed, they stood motionless, and exposed to wounds. Then urged by their general's appeals and mutual encouragements not to quail before a troop of frenzied women, they bore the standards onwards, smote down all resistance, and wrapped the foe in the flames of his own brands. A force was next set over the conquered, and their groves, devoted to inhuman superstitions, were destroyed. They deemed it indeed a duty to cover their altars with the blood of captives and to consult their deities through human entrails."

Tacitus on the Roman Raid of Anglesey

You could almost say Tacitus writes like anything found in the rag papers, such as the Sun and the Mirror...... and the Telegraph!

 I always conflate Boudicca with the raging Druidic furies on Anglesey as the Romans defeated them,  sadly, just one of the many defeats this island has taken.  But Druidism if it did exist, though not so much in this country, but in Ireland and that part of the European continent that adjoins the sea we share, was seen as an evil force that stood behind the restless Iron Age natives of many tribes that occupied Britain.

Turning to Boudicca, stripped and whipped whilst her daughters were raped by the Roman soldiers the anguish was too much for her and she raised an army against the invaders, again sadly she was defeated with her poorly led army against the more methodical tactics of the Roman.

Summed up neatly, no lessons in the names of the tribes that dominated England, nor am I going to lacerate the Romans with verbal cruelty - it just was.

I would bring parallels with the discussion of women's role in society today and yes we are still talking about rape 2000 years later! But I think women are slowly but surely getting there now, and I really do not admire Boudicca for her warlike action.

No what sparked these thoughts, is religion, YP put his foot in where others would not, and we all expressed our feelings.  Well I threw out two books on the 'old gods' the pagan Celtic gods so beloved by Boudicca and the Romans, Christianity did not come to Britain till later on.  Both books written funnily enough by women Miranda Aldhouse-Green and Anne Ross.

I always enjoyed wandering through these gods of the woods, hunting, water and war.  They lay  in the earth till discovered by archaeologists they represent  superstitious belief systems.  You can find them all over the world but for some reason two religions have dominated, Christianity and Islam, I belong to neither but am quite happy in the bounds of nature's chaos.

Paul was an admirer of Boudica, he also joked that as an Anglo-Saxon his heritage came from Saxon royalty.  He was not nationalistic though.

As an aside;  Minerva Roman goddess of many skills including crafts was also sold by the Romans to the native population of Bath or Aqua Sulis, with the local goddess Sulis, sometimes it is good to hedge ones bets when it comes to the gods!  


See old blogs.


  1. Seems there always hav been dreadful wars and there always will be and in many ways women suffer a worse fate.

    1. Yes rape is one of the weapons of war, especially in the occasional African state Pat.

  2. It is a never-ending circle, the theory of archeology. When I was doing my dissertation, I wanted to introduce Victorian research on the Scandinavian influence on Pictish art, but I was firmly told, no that wouldn't do, as that wasn't considered at all by the upper echelons of theorists. Hmmm, I noticed recently that someone else had made that leap and it was now considered influential! I am guessing the Old Gods of Miranda Aldhouse-Green and Ann Ross will see the light of day again in the future . . .

  3. I suspect the argument, and the theory, are the things that modern day archaeology concentrate on. Actually the Victorians, for all their plunder Jennie were the ones that put the art of discussion into the arena.

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  5. I have the feeling that both Christianity and Islam are Johnny-come-lately religions that had the audacity to crush, overlook or utilise much more ancient belief systems. I feel this by wells, springs and other ancient places that have left their echoes across the fields of time.

    1. The crushing of old religions is recorded to some extent by the Catholic church but I think through fear and terrorism. You have only to look at the carved images that decorate the exterior of churches to understand the fear that was deliberately engendered. There again I am not in favour of bloody sacrifices of the old pagan ways!


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