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1st Century A.D.-
From: United Kingdom
Fields: Government and Politics
Key Words/Phrases: queen of Brigantia
Cartimandua was the queen of Brigantia, a British tribe in northern England (Yorkshire), during the time of the Roman invasion of Britain. She ruled Brigantia from A.D. 41-60. In A.D. 43, Cartimandua signed a treaty with the Romans, placing herself under their protection. Her tribe was opposed to this treaty and there were several revolts against Cartimandua. In A.D. 48, she asked for and received Roman help in fighting the rebellion.

When Caratacus, a rebel leader who had been fighting the Romans, asked Catimandua for asylum, she had him arrested and turned him over to the Romans as a sign of loyalty to them. Cartimandua's consort, Venutius, called her a traitor and attempted to have her overthrown but he was unsuccessful after the Romans came to Cartimandua's aid. She convinced the Romans that if Venutius controlled the kingdom, he would not be as loyal to them as she was.

For a while Cartimandua ruled jointly with Venutius, but when he made another attempt to overthrow her, she took Vellocatus, a royal armor-bearer, as her consort. She sent Vellocatus to fight Venutius and, again, asked for Roman help. Ca. A.D. 69., Cartimandua "retired" and in A.D. 71, Rome annexed Brigantia after they easily defeated Venutius, Vellocatus and the Brigantes in battle.

Contributed by Danuta Bois, 2000.


1. Women Who Ruled: A Biographical Encyclopedia by Guida M. Jackson, Barnes & Noble Books, 1998
2. Women Warriors: A History by David E. Jones, Brassey's, 1997
3. The Warrior Queens. The Legends and the Lives of the Women Who Have Led Their Nations in War by Antonia Fraser, Vintage Books, 1994


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