Iceni

From Academic Kids

The Iceni were a Celtic British tribe who inhabited roughly modern-day Norfolk circa 1st century BC to 1st century AD.

The territory of the Iceni approximated to the borders of modern-day Norfolk. The Iceni are mentioned in Tacitus's Annals, which were written c. AD 118 but describing the events of AD 47. Tacitus records how in 47 the Iceni revolted against Roman occupation and once again in 60, this time led by Boudicca. The events leading up to the second revolt are as follows:-

The tribal ruler Prasutagus attempted to bequeath half of his kingdom to his family, instead of leaving it to the Roman Emperor Claudius. Upon the death of Prasutagus however, Procurator Catus Decianus seized his entire estate. Queen Boudicca (pronounced Boo-dikka), wife of Prasutagus, then led a large-scale revolt against Roman occupation, sacking Camulodunum (Colchester), Londinium (London) and Verulamium (St Albans) before finally being defeated and killed at an unknown location, probably in the West Midlands somewhere along Watling Street.

From the Iceni's defeat the Romans turned the former tribal territory of the Iceni into a Civitas or administrative subdivision. The Ravenna Cosmography, Ptolemy's Geography and the Antonine Itinerary each record that the Roman administrative centre for Norfolk was named Venta Icenorum a settlement a mile or two from the Bronze Age Henge at Arminghall, near the village of Caister Saint Edmunds, some 5 miles south of present-day Norwich.

Archaeological evidence of the Iceni includes torcs - heavy rings of gold, silver or electrum worn around the neck and shoulders. Of the three different types of Iceni coins found so far the boar-obverse type is most numerous near Norwich. The symbol of a horse found on these coins suggests that it was an animal of particular significance to the Iceni.

Sir Thomas Browne the first British archaeological writer, noted in Hydriotaphia, Urn Burial (1658) of the Roman occupation, Boudicca and Iceni coins -

That Britain was notably populous is undeniable, from that expression of Caesar. That the Romans themselves were early in no small Numbers, Seventy Thousand with their associates slain by Bouadicea, affords a sure account... And no small number of silver peeces near Norwich; with a rude head upon the obverse, an ill-formed horse on the reverse, with the Inscriptions Ic. Duro.T. whether implying Iceni, Dutotriges, Tascia, or Trinobantes, we leave to higher conjecture. The British Coyns afford conjecture of early habitation in these parts, though the City of Norwich arose from the ruins of Venta, and though perhaps not without some habitation before, was enlarged, built, and nominated by the Saxons.

A large statue of Queen Boudicca wielding a sword and charging upon a chariot can be seen in London on the north bank of the Thames by Westminster Bridge.

The Icknield Way, an ancient trackway linking East Anglia to the Chilterns is named after the Iceni tribe.

Source

  • Tom Williamson -The Origins of Norfolk. Manchester University Press pub. 1993de:Icener

ms:Iceni no:Icenere pl:Icenowie

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