Friday, 15 March 2013

Disappearance Of The IX Legion

Tacitus had written earlier that 'not a single fort established by Agricola was either stormed by the enemy or abandoned by capitulation or flight'. This was about to change. The Caledonians carried out a daring attack in the dead of night on the fortress of the sleeping Ninth Legion - it was payback time ! Tacitus doesn't admit that the Roman intelligence was wrong but that the Picts, 'suddenly changed their plan, and with their whole force attacked by night the ninth Legion.' They first set bodies of troops at key positions to intercept any fleeing Legionnaires and then advance units overpowered the guards. In Tacitus words, 'Cutting down the sentries, who were asleep or panic-stricken, they broke into the camp.'

full article here


  1. Yet ancient Britain was filled with proud and warlike Celtic tribes, and Rome constantly dreaded rebellion. While Spain and the entire coast of North Africa were kept at peace with a single legion apiece, Britain required three permanent legions. Even so, in AD61, the nightmare came true and much of the island erupted into bloody revolt, under Queen Boudicca. A brutal and corrupt Roman official was to blame. When Boudicca's husband died, the official ordered the seizure of his tribal lands, and had his Queen publicly whipped and her daughters raped for good measure.

    Such an insult could not be endured.

  2. The tribesmen of Caledonia were fine specimens of men, with reddish hair and huge limbs. They called themselves 'the last men on earth, the last of the free'. In even the coldest weather they wore nothing but primitive kilts of homespun wool, their bare chests and arms covered in tattoos depicting terrifying emblems of severed heads, shining suns, intertwined serpents and crossed daggers dripping blood. In time of war, though, they painted blood-red stripes across their faces, clad themselves in animal pelts, wolf skins and bear skins, clasped with brooches of red Hibernian gold, and decorated their spears with blue-grey herons' feathers. As they rushed into battle, their shaman priests, called the Druithyn in the ancient Celtic tongue, wearing deer's antlers on their heads, stood on nearby hillsides and raised their arms to heaven to summon the spirits of the dead.

    They gashed themselves with knives, beat monstrous drums, burnt huge bonfires and howled in fury.