Boudica Warlord and queen of the British Iceni, an ancient Celtic tribe, Boudica led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire. Boudica’s husband Prasutagus was ruler of the Iceni tribe, and enjoyed autonomy under a treaty with the Romans. However, when he died, the kingdom was annexed as if conquered. Boudica was flogged, her daughters were raped, and Roman financiers called in their loans. In AD 60 or 61, Boudica waited until the Roman governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus was leading a campaign on the island of Anglesey off the northwest coast of Wales. She then launched a massive assault leading the Iceni, Trinovantes and other Britons in revolt against Roman population centers. She destroyed Camulodunum (modern Colchester), and while the out-manned Roman garrisons attempted to flee, Boudica’s army of 100,000 engaged the Legio IX Hispana, decimating them, then burned and destroyed Londinium, and Verulamium (modern-day St. Albans). An estimated 70,000–80,000 Romans and British were killed in the three cities by Boudica’s armies. Despite these early gains, Suetonius regrouped his forces in the West Midlands, and though heavily outnumbered, defeated Boudica’s advancing Britons in the Battle of Watling Street. The crisis caused the Emperor Nero to consider withdrawing all Roman forces from Britain, but Suetonius’s eventual victory over Boudica confirmed Roman control of the province. Boudica then killed herself so she would not be captured. She has since remained an important cultural symbol in the United Kingdom, and is renown for her tactical use of the chariot on the battlefield by employing shock-combat to break enemy formations.
Boudicca, Celtic warrior queen of the Iceni people of Eastern England. After the Romans took their land, stripped her, flogged her and raped her daughters, she led a rebellion against them, destroying several cities and armies in the process. Badass.
Amage was a Sarmatian warrior queen who lived toward the end of the 2nd Century BCE.
Amage was queen of the Sarmatians, an Iranian people who lived in the western region ofScythia on the coast of the Black Sea. According to the Greek strategist Polyaenus, while Amage’s husband, Medosaccus, was officially the Samartian king, Amage deemed him to be an unworthy ruler who abused his power for personal luxury. She took control of the Sarmatian government and military, using her power to build defensive garrisons which she used to defend her lands on multiple occasions.
Her success as a leader made her famous throughout Scythia and led to the neighbouring Chersonesians to ask for her help when they were being threatened by the Crimean Scythians. Amage agreed to the alliance, sending a message to the Scythian king demanding that he leave the Chersonesians in peace. When the king refused she gathered a force of 120 seasoned warriors, equipping them with 3 horses each so they could cover ground quicky. Marching toward the Scythian palace they covered a distance of more than a 100 stades (180 kilometres) in a single night and a day. The swiftness of the attack caught the Scythian forces off guard and they were easily defeated. Personally leading the assault on the palace, Amage broke into the Scythian king’s quarters and killed him along with his entire family save for one of his sons. She installed the boy as the new Scythian ruler, on the condition that Chersonesus would remain free and that the Scythians would never again attack their neighbours.
While little else is recorded of Amage’s rule, Sarmatian women became known for having a prominent role in war and are recorded by Herodotus as fighting in the same clothing as men. Some believe that the exploits of Amage and similar Sarmatian women served as the inspiration for the Greek myth of the Amazons.
We also need women’s history because so much of women’s participation is frankly denied in the ceaseless effort to assert men’s “natural” superiority at all costs. Who knows now that the owner of the Round Table was not Arthur, but Guenevere, or that generations of battling queens in India and Arabia helped to make their countries what they are today? And thes distortions did not only occur in our misty, distant past. Who ever hears of the all-female crack combat battalions in this century’s two World Wars, or knows what part women played in the discovery of quasars and DNA? What of the women’s space flight program in NASA’s glory days of moon landings, an initiative suddenly and ingloriously shut down without explanation, although the women’s results were at least as good as the men’s?
Who Cooked the Last Supper - The Women’s History of the World, by Rosalind Miles
Rudrama Devi rose to power in 1259 during her early teens when she was appointed co-regent to jointly rule alongside her father, King Ganapati. While Ganapati had no sons, he gave her the male name of Rudra Deva and formally declared her to be his male heir, an image which she did nothing to deter as she dressed in male clothes. She married Veerabadra, a prince of Nidadavolu, with whom she had two female children, but he suffered an early death.
The first few years of Rudrama’s conjoined rule with her father were marred by a Pandya invasion led by Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan I. While the invasion was eventually repelled, the Kakatiyas suffered a number of significant defeats and the kingdom was left in a weakened state. As a result of these failings her father withdrew from public life while passing control to Rudrama, and on his death in 1269 she was officially crowned as Rani (Queen). A number of noblemen, possibly including her own step-brothers, refused to submit to a woman’s authority and rose up in rebellion against her. However Rudrama rallied an army with those nobles and chiefs still loyal to her and successfully crushed the rebellion.
Having secured her kingdom Rudrama spent the rest of her rule defending it from external threats. The Kakatiya were one of four major powers in Southern India who were frequently at war with each other. The Yadava king Maha Deva launched a sustained invasion on the Kakatiya from 1268 to 1270, culminating in a siege of the Kakatiya capital of Orugallu (now Warangal). After 15 days of fighting, an attack led by Rudrama routed the Yadavas and she pursued them in a long retreat back to their own territory during which many Yadavas were captured. Soundly defeated, Maha Deva was forced to pay an enormous ransom for the release of his soldiers. A later invasion by the Odias was also defeated by Rudrama’s generals.
While adept at warfare, Rudrama was also known to have been an effective administrator and when Orugallu was visited by Marco Polo he described her as a lady of discretion who ruled with justice and equity. She also completed work on the Orugallu Fort, adding a second wall and a moat to the structure, which protected the city against numerous future sieges.
In 1280 Rudrama passed the mantle of leadership on to her grandson, Prataprudra, as she was growing old and had no male children of her own. However in 1285 a new threat arose in the form of the Kayastha Chief, Amba Deva, who had allied with the Pandyas and Yadavas to destroy the Kakatiya empire. Though elderly, Rudrama led an army to meet this three-pronged attack head-on, but was killed in the ensuing battle. The Katakiya empire would crumble over the following years, however Rudrama Devi’s legacy is still well remembered in Southern India.