The Iceni tribe (from Old Briton 'Ikeni') was a Brythonic civilization based in and around OTL East Anglia. Formed in roughly the first century BC, the early days of the Iceni tribe are shrouded in mystery and obscurity, making itself largely known during c.60 AD, during a revolt led by Boudica. Originally a tribe based in Touta Iceni, the civilization eventually became a major influential civilization in Bronze Age and Post-Bronze Age Britain, encompassing the area of OTL East Anglia at its greatest extent.
Iceni was 'peacefully annexed' by the Roman Empire at some point before 47 AD, though was allowed some autonomy. When the king died and Boudica I became High Queen of Iceni, the Roman Empire saw her unfit to rule and invaded the region. Iceni led a revolt against the Roman Empire in c.60 AD and regained its independence, along with the independence of several other tribes. This led to the subsequent formation of the Comhairle, an alliance of the British tribes. Iceni had a major say in Comhairle affairs and became an important center of trade, military, and leadership.
Regions of Iceni were characterized by very flat land intermingled with heavy forests and swamps. Much of Norikeni and Camulodunum is very hilled due to glacial ridges. The land was fertile and the seas were bountiful, the coast of Iceni providing home to fisheries. As time progressed, quarries were built on the glacial ridges, providing stone for construction of forts, walls, homes and, in the later eras of Comhairle, roads.
Iceni began as a small civilization near OTL Norfolk in the first century BC. Due to lack of records, the history of pre-Roman Iceni is largely based on assumption. What is known is that the tribe was relatively peaceful, though their military was strong if provoked. The tribe was annexed by the Roman Empire at some point prior to 47 AD, leading to a brief revolt in 47 AD. The tribe was allowed limited autonomy, giving the High King authority over his people. Contrary to popular belief, the Kings did not live as 'barbarians' as the viewpoint of Bronze Age tribes would have one believe.
In c.59 AD, Prastagus died, leaving his wife, Boudica I, as the queen. The Romans, seeing a woman unfit to rule, attempted to remove Boudica I from her throne. She and her daughters were taken to Londinium to be raped and flogged. The very angered Boudica rallied warriors from her tribes and other subjugated tribes to revolt against Roman rule. A guerrilla-based war followed. For years, the Celtic forces stormed Roman British lands, burning Londinium and several other cities to the ground.
When Rome called for peace, the Celtic tribes formed the Comhairle in order to maintain their hold on Britain. The Iceni/Roman relations remained bitter, if not hostile, for quite some time. In the second century AD, the Comhairle/Roman relations drastically improved. To ensure hostilities did not return, the Comhairle were willing to trade with Rome, though this was usually denied. Still, many gladiators and entertainers hailed from Iceni and were described as 'fierce, tough, and completely insane' by one eyewitness.
Relations in the third century AD took a bitter turn. As the Roman Empire fought itself in the Crisis of the Third Century, several Romans began to defect to Comhairle lands to avoid too much trouble. When Maximus Thrax, a former Roman Emperor, came to Iceni for help, they took him in. The Roman Empire, demanding the return of Thrax, invaded again. While they were pushed out of Britain by Iceni, they invaded the Trinovantes first, using the tribe as a springboard for their invasions. When they were pushed out after several months of fighting, Iceni worked on rebuilding the area. Furthermore, the remnants of the Trinovantes requested that Iceni annex the nation, thus doubling the size of Iceni.
When the Gallic Empire revolted, Comhairle viewed this as a chance to invade Roman Britain. Britannia had revolted with Gaul, allowing the Comhairle to invade without suffering poor relations with the Romans. Iceni led the attack, taking Britannia. Troops were slaughtered and towns were ransacked. When Gaul surrendered, Iceni sold Britannia back to the Roman Empire for gold, putting the empire even more in debt.
Roman citizens continued to leave Rome for Comhairle, settling in Iceni due to its proximity to Europe and Britannia. Even an former Roman General defected to the Iceni tribe, teaching the tribe Roman tactics. Iceni warriors assisted Comhairle in the Pictish Wars in the late fourth century. In the fifth century, Rome suffered massive invasions by Germanic tribes. Roman troops left Britannia and Albion, marking Rome's departure from Britain. Iceni and the other Comhairle tribes led the wars to annex the two nations into Comhairle.
Following the annexation of Britannia and Albion, Comhairle chose to merge all Celtic civilizations in the alliance, including Iceni, into one nation known as the Kingdom of Ollmhór. The Iceni civilization ceased to exist, though its regions became some of the most important areas of Ollmhór. Many rulers and generals of Ollmhór were descended from Iceni citizens, warriors, and rulers.
Iceni was ruled by a high king, who is advised by a council of 12 other kings. The high hing, while not an absolute ruler, did have say on almost every matter in the Iceni government. Wars, laws, criminal hearings, diplomacy and election of new councilmen fell on the shoulders of the High King of Iceni. During war, the high king was expected to lead his troops to battle and fight valiantly.
High Kings generally lived in fortified homes. Most kings have lived in Norikeni's Hall of Kings, a massive castle built as a monument to the strong kings and queens of Iceni. The old King's Palace in Ikeni Touta was severely damaged in a surprise attack against the Ollmhór in 1102 and has further deteriorated over the years. Boudica's palace in Venta Incenorum remains standing.
The Council of Twelve Kings served as advisors to the high king while allowing him flexibility to make his own decisions. The Twelve Kings were all equal. There was no second-in-command. The most honorable, respectable men were chosen to be in the Council of Twelve Kings, allowing for the kings to view each other as equals in the council.
The Council of Twelve Kings held meetings in the Hall of Kings.
The Iceni military was a vastly powerful military known for fighting off the Roman Empire, a feat most nations could not hope to claim. The warriors fought with an honor code; never run away, never get captured. Opiate face paint was used occasionally in battle to prevent fatigue and fear. Many Iceni warriors favored the use of the axe. When fighting, Iceni warriors gathered in a wedge-shaped formation to break through lines. They were also heavily skilled at forest and guerrilla combat.
Iceni art was practical and minimalist. Pre-Boudica Iceni art is rare and difficult to trace. We can only assume what Iceni art was like before Boudica. With the creation of the Comhairle, a flood of culture from other Celtic tribes entered Iceni, fusing with Iceni culture. By the creation of Ollmhór, the Iceni culture had evolved into a very distinct culture. The Iceni sculpted, though it was not as detailed as Roman sculptures. Paintings were non-existent, though wall murals serve as lasting art, depicting battles, kings and queens, animals, cities, and armies.
Iceni body painting took on a more personal stance. Each clan had its own body paint design that would be applied to the body before combat, festivals, funerals, and weddings. The body painting process was somewhat complicated. Each town had a basic body paint to identify the person; a wring around the arms, for example. A clan added a more intricate design, such as lines or shapes on a person's back or arms. The personal level was the most intricate: the person would paint a number of personal designs, such as tree branches or ivy lines, and adopted some of the designs of his or her father. Due to this, no two Iceni had the same body paint.
Body paint influenced armor coloring, clan flags, town flags, and other art. The many town flags can trade their designs back to body paint worn by Iceni warriors. The earliest remaining piece of body paint is a set of captured Roman Centurion armor with the Kraven design painted onto it.
Iceni music was noted for being very drum-heavy. Fast, upbeat drums were played at festivals, weddings, and coronations. Dancing, laughter, and feasts were common at such events. During funerals, there was a slow, mournful, respectful drumbeat. Two beats would play on a drum before ceasing for five seconds. Visitors found it eerily similar to a heartbeat. During battle, there would be several drums playing as the warriors moved to combat, but ceased during combat.
Aside from that, archaeological evidence points to flutes and variants of the guitar. Iceni music was also very vocal, too. Women and men with the vocal abilities capable of producing pleasing sounds were trained to sing during festivals and weddings.
The Iceni language was noted for being harsh to the ears when spoken, beautiful when sung, and absolutely terrifying when shouted. The pre-Boudica language is somewhat obscure as the languages of the Comhairle started to blend together. By the creation of Ollmhór, most Celtic people spoke the same language, albeit with different accents and dialects. However, Iceni accents placed emphasis on 'E's and 'A's.
The Iceni religion was largely druidic/polytheistic. They shared most aspects of their religion with the other Celts of Comhairle, although human sacrifice was much less common. Most human sacrifices were considered 'done on the battlefield' by the Iceni. Christianity began to see a rise in 473, with the arrival of St Alan, a monk fleeing from the falling Roman Empire.