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current archaeology

Diary

No. 71 Vol. VI No. 12 Published April 1980

Edited by Andrew & Wendy Selkirk, 9 Nassington Road, London NW3 2TX, Tel. 01-435 7517

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Boudica, pronounced Bow-deekah

J UST as we had all got used to the idea that Boudicca, whom we all once knew as Boadicea, should really be Boudica, it now seems that we have been mispronouncing her as well. In the latest issue of Britannia, Professor Kenneth Jackson, our leading authority on the language and history of early Britain, con­ firms that philologically Boudica with a single 'c' is correct, and he then goes on to argue that the popular pronunciation 'Boodikka' is also wrong. The correct pronuncia­ tion is 'Bowdeekah', where the bow is pronounced as in 'bow and arrow', the stressed syllable is the dee, with long vowel, the final a also being long.

"The reason for this is as follows. If Boudicca, with short i and double c was right, its late Welsh descendant would have had to be Buddech. But in fact the early Welsh adjective meaning 'victorious' and the personal name meaning 'Victoria' are respectively budic and Budic (in modern Welsh buddug and Buddug). These mean that the British form of the name, in her own time, must have been Boudica, pronounced as above as 'Bowdeekah'.''

Incidentally, he adds, our old friend Caratacus, who appears in the manuscripts as Caractacus, which has been changed on philological grounds to Caratacus, should really be pronounced 'Caratahcus', with the stress on the tah, not Carattacus, with the stress on the ratt.

The Year of the Vikings THE publicists tell us that 1980 is to be the year of the Vikings, and to judge by the success of the publicity it has begun very well indeed. At the British Museum the Viking Exhibition opened on February 14th and is already draw­ ing big crowds, but the trouble with such publicity is that it may create expectations which it is difficult to live up to. Certainly the exhibition is extremely big: it not only takes up the usual exhibition rooms but also the whole of the Medieval Galleries and even spills over and occupies half of the Romano-British Gallery. Indeed the smart comment to make about the Viking Exhibition is to ask whether anyone has seen the Sutton Hoo Exhibition in Stockholm, for if the Vikings have come to London, the Anglo-Saxons, in the form of Sutton Hoo, have gone to Sweden, to form what should be an equally magnificent exhibition.

But those who feared that the Viking Exhibition was going to mark the British Museum's final surrender to the embraces of Madame Tussaud can be reassured or disappointed as the case may be. This is in fact a very traditional exhibition, with the exhibits conventionally displayed, with distinctly ordinary labels. The real problem lies in the absence of any distinct theme. Here again the publicists landed them at an early stage with the 'traders not raiders' tag, but it is a little difficult to overlook the raiding side of the Vikings activities, and in any case, David Wilson, the Director of the British Museum, and instigator of the Exhibition, does not really believe it

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