How old is feminism? At least as old as …

How old is feminism? At least as old as 60AD, when Boudicca (Queen of the Icene tribe in Britain) gave this speech on the eve of battle against the Romans:

You men of Iceni, of Trinovantes
You Britons, you men of valor and strength;

Many times before, you have raised arms together under the banner of noble queens.

But here, today, I stand with you not as a noble women of long ancestry, but as one among you, as one who has suffered these indignities that you have seen with your own eyes

Here today, I avenge my lost freedom,
Here, today, I avenge my scarred body,
Here, today, I avenge the outraged chastity of my daughters.

The lust of Rome goes so far that not even our own bodies, not old age or virginity, are left unspoiled.

But heaven fights alongside righteous vengeance; one legion already dared to face us – those who did not fall beneath our spears are cowering in their tents, or have fled into the mists of dawn. They cannot stand even the din and shout of our thousands, much less our charge and our blows.

Measure out the strength of these two armies,
Weigh out the causes of this war,
Test the strength of your own heart,
And you will see that in this, we must conquer or die.

THIS is a woman’s resolve; as for men, they may live and be slaves.

(my paraphrase)

2 thoughts on “How old is feminism? At least as old as …

  1. michael Post author

    Probably. Although she did begin her revolt by basically attacking a convalescent home for crippled old Roman soldiers, and slaughtering them. That’s the “legion” she’s referring to in her speech.

    Maybe nobody powerful is good in the harsh light of history.

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