Project Director

Colvin, Justin

Department Examiner

Davies, Joshua; Springer, Carl P.E.


Dept. of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Tacitus (fl. ~100 ᴄᴇ) and Cassius Dio (fl. ~200 ᴄᴇ) wrote, respectively, the Annales and the Historia Romana, both now fragmentary, both detailing imperial Roman expansion, and both displaying anxieties about the barbarian ‘Other.’ Their accounts of Boudica, who led the Iceni against Roman encroachment in Britannia in 62 CE, provide a view into these authors’ visions of colonization, ethnicity, and gender. Characterizing this woman as a barbarian leader of war, the authors reveal not only their foundational ideologies but also the political projects underpinning their histories. This thesis will proceed in the following manner: I will provide 1) a dry recapitulation of the narrative of Boudica’s rebellion; then this thesis will turn to examine the historical moments of 2) Tacitus and 3) Cassius Dio, alongside 4) Roman attempts at the ethnography of Britannia and its residents, 5) social expectations of women in Rome and Britannia, and 6) the ambition animating Roman imperial policy in conquering Britannia. Thereafter, this thesis will introduce four theoretical approaches, namely, 7) post-structuralist narratology, 8) feminist and gender theories, 9) postcolonial theory, and 10) the theory of intersectionality. After establishing the historical moment and with these four analytical instruments in hand, I will 11) return to the only two surviving texts that attest to Boudica’s rebellion and determine how their respective characterizations of Boudica as a female, barbarian political-military leader might have reflected, refracted, and subverted the pre-existing Roman constructs of empire, ethnicity, and gender. In the joint analysis of these vectors of identity, this thesis will advance a more complete understanding of the entire imperial system as described by Tacitus and Cassius Dio.


The author of a project such as this one invariably accrues debts that simple thanks cannot begin to repay. I hope that acknowledging their contributions begins to settle my account. All good herein is theirs; all errors that doubtlessly remain are my own: Prof. Justin Colvin, my thesis advisor; Dr. Joshua Davies and Dr. Carl Springer, esteemed teachers and committee members; The UTC Honors College, for awarding me the Odyssey Grant in service of my trip to London.


B. A.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Arts.




Rome--History--Julio-Claudians, 30 B.C.-68 A.D.--Historiography


Boadicea, Queen, -62; Tacitus, Cornelius; Cassius Dio Cocceianus


Boudica; Postmodernism; Postcolonialism; Gender Theory; Intersectionality; Latin and Greek Translation


Ancient History, Greek and Roman through Late Antiquity

Document Type



101 leaves







Date Available