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The Iceni or Eceni were a Brythonic tribe who inhabited an area of Britain corresponding roughly to the modern-day county of Norfolk between the 1st century BC and 1st century AD. The Cenimagni, who surrendered to Julius Caesar during his second expedition to Britain in 54 BC, may have been a branch of the Iceni.<ref>Julius Caesar, Commentarii de Bello Gallico 5.21</ref>

Archaeological evidence of the Iceni includes torcs - heavy rings of gold, silver or electrum worn around the neck and shoulders.

The Iceni began producing coins ca. 10 BC. Their coins were a distinctive adaptation of the Gallo-Belgic "face/horse" design, and in some early issues, most numerous near Norwich, the horse was replaced with a boar. Some coins are inscribed ECENI, making them the only coin-producing group to use their tribal name on coins. The earliest personal name to appear on coins is Antedios (ca. 10 BC), and other abbreviated names like AESU and SAEMU follow.<ref>Graham Webster (1978), Boudica: the British Revolt Against Rome AD 60, pp. 46-48</ref>

Sir Thomas Browne the first British archaeological writer, noted in Hydriotaphia, Urn Burial (1658) of the Roman occupation, Boudica 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.

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


[edit] The Roman Invasion

Tacitus records that the Iceni were not conquered in the Claudian invasion of AD 43, but had come to a voluntary alliance with the Romans. However they rose against them in 47 after the governor, Publius Ostorius Scapula, threatened to disarm them. They were defeated by Ostorius in a fierce battle at a fortified place, but were allowed to retain their independence.<ref>Tacitus, Annals 12.31</ref> The site of the battle may have been Stonea Camp in Cambridgeshire.

A second, more serious, uprising took place in 61. Prasutagus, the wealthy, pro-Roman Icenian king, had died. It was common practice for a Roman client king to leave his kingdom to Rome on his death, but Prasutagus had attempted to preserve his line by bequeathing his kingdom jointly to the Emperor and his own daughters. The Romans ignored this, and the procurator Catus Decianus seized his entire estate. Prasutagus's widow, Boudica, was flogged and her daughters raped. At the same time, Roman financiers called in their loans. While the governor, Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, was campaigning in Wales, Boudica led the Iceni and the neighbouring Trinovantes in a large-scale revolt, destroying and looting Camulodunum (Colchester), Londinium (London) and Verulamium (St Albans) before finally being defeated by Suetonius Paulinus and his legions. Although the Britons outnumbered the Romans greatly, they lacked that superior training and tactics that won the Romans a decisive victory. <ref> Cambridge Latin Course Textbook, Unit 2 </ref>The battle took place at an unknown location, probably in the West Midlands somewhere along Watling Street. <ref> Agricola 14-17; Annals 14:29-39; Dio Cassius, Roman History 62:1-12</ref> Today, a large statue of Boudica wielding a sword and charging upon a chariot can be seen in London on the north bank of the Thames by Westminster Bridge.

The Iceni are recorded as a civitas of Roman Britain in Ptolemy's Geography<ref>Ptolemy, Geography 2.2</ref>, which names Venta Icenorum as a town of theirs. Venta, which is also mentioned in the Ravenna Cosmography,<ref>Ravenna Cosmography (British section)</ref> and the Antonine Itinerary,<ref>Antonine Itinerary (British section)</ref> was a settlement near the village of Caister Saint Edmunds, some 5 miles south of present-day Norwich, and a mile or two from the Bronze Age Henge at Arminghall.

[edit] References


[edit] Bibliography

  • Tom Williamson (1993), The Origins of Norfolk, Manchester University Press

[edit] External links

fr:Iceni it:Iceni ms:Iceni nl:Iceni no:Icenere pl:Icenowie ru:Ицены fi:Ikeenit


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