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Cartimandua

by Micha F. Lindemans
A first century CE warrior queen, leader of the Brigantes (legendary descendants of the goddess Brigantia), the largest and most powerful tribe in Roman Britain. She had forged an alliance with the Roman Empire and the Romans supported her rule as a client-queen, since this stabilized the region and stopped any dynastic conflicts. She and her husband Venutius were loyal to Rome, which was proven when in 51 CE the rebel leader of a neighboring tribe, Caractacus, asked for Cartimandua's aid but she turned him over to the Romans. Caractacus was subsequently taken to Rome but his life was spared by Emperor Claudius.

Cartimandua divorced Venutius and married his charioteer or arms bearer Vellocatus shortly after Caractacus' capture. Venutius, however, raised support and attacked his former wife, despite the fact that she held his brother and other relatives hostage. The fighting remained inconclusive until the Roman legion (the Legio IX Hispana) appeared and defeated the rebels. Venutius tried again in 69 CE and this time Cartimandua was unable to put down the revolt, even with Roman support, and was overthrown. Venutius became king of the Brigantes and ruled it briefly as an independent kingdom. Shortly after that, Queen Cartimandua disappeared from history.


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  • Etymology:
    Sleek pony

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