CONTENTS  [Journal Homepage]

Cartimandua - Queen of the Brigantes

Cartimandua was ruler over the Brigantes in her own right. After she captured King Caratacus and betrayed him to Claudius Caesar she became even more powerful. Emperor Claudius was pleased with his captive whom he took to Rome to be part of his triumph, and he richly rewarded Cartimandua.

She became reckless and grew to hate her husband Venutius. She took his servant Vellocatus to share the throne with her. Her family clan were shocked by this and the Brigantes chose to side with Venutius who hated the Romans. He called on other tribes to help, and with the Brigantes, led an attack on Cartimandua. She asked the Romans to protect her, and after a number of fights they managed to rescue the Queen from danger.

Venutius became King of the Brigantes, but the war with the Romans carried on.
Adapted from The Histories of Tacitus Book III, translated by C.H.Moore.

Teachers notes

Cartimandua was a contemporary of Boudicca who ruled the Brigantes tribe from a base in North Yorkshire during the time immediately following the invasion of Claudius in AD 43. She seems to have decided to ally herself with the Romans early on, since in AD 52 she handed over to them Caratacus and his family, who had fled to the Brigantes for protection following his defeat in an uprising in Wales.

Until AD 69 she ruled the tribe and it was then that the incidents described above occurred. Archaeological excavations at Stanwick in North Yorkshire have turned up Roman building materials, including roofing tiles, along with fine tableware which suggest that an important building was being built for the local ruler, most likely Venutius, soon after the invasion.

Ideas for using the text


Last updated: Tue Aug 13 2002

© Author(s). Content published prior to 2013 is not covered by CC-BY licence and requests for reproduction should usually go to the copyright holder (in most cases, the author(s)). For citation / fair-dealing purposes, please attribute the author(s), the title of the work, the Internet Archaeology journal and the relevant URL/DOI.

University of York legal statements