Saturday, 3 April 2010


Agricola was recalled by Domitian after seven years'
warfare, and his garrisons did not long hold their forts
on his lines or frontier, which stretched across the
country from Forth to Clyde; roughly speaking, from
Graham's Dyke, east of Borrowstounnis on the Firth of
Forth, to Old Kilpatrick on Clyde.  The region is now
full of coal-mines, foundries, and villages; but excavations
at Bar Hill, Castlecary, and Roughcastle disclose traces
of Agricola's works, with their earthen ramparts.  The
Roman station at Camelon, north-west of Falkirk, was
connected with the southern passes of the Highland hills
by a road with a chain of forts.The remains of Roman
pottery at Camelon are of the first century.

Two generations after Agricola, about 140-145, the
Roman Governor,Lollius Urbicus, refortified the line of
Forth to Clyde with a wall of sods and a ditch, and forts
much larger than those constructed by Agricola.  His line,
"the Antonine Vallum," had its works on commanding
ridges; and fire-signals, in case of attack by the natives,
flashed the news "from one sea to the other sea," while
the troops of occupation could be provisioned from the
Roman fleet.  Judging by the coins found by the excavators,
the line was abandoned about 190, and the forts were
wrecked and dismantled, perhaps by the retreating Romans.

After the retreat from the Antonine Vallum, about
190, we hear of the vigorous "unrest" of the Meatae
and Caledonians; the latter people are said, on very poor
authority, to have been little better than savages.
Against them Severus (208) made an expedition
indefinitely far to the north, but the enemy shunned
a general engagement, cut off small detachments, and
caused the Romans terrible losses in this march to a non-
existent Moscow.

Not till 306 do we hear of the Picts, about whom there is infinite
learning but little knowledge.  They must have spoken Gaelic
by Severus's time (208), whatever their original language; and
were long recognised in Galloway, where the hill and river
names are Gaelic..

more to follow......

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