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18 June 2014
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Legacies - Central and Fife

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Antonine Wall
The Antonine Wall stretching west of Bonnybridge.
Shades of Empire: The Roman Presence in Scotland

The accepted history has the Romans moving north in 79 AD under governor Julius Agricola, reaching the Tay the following year and crushing the Caledonian forces under Calgacus at Mons Graupius. However the major source for this history is Tacitus, Agricola's son in law, and his history is more spin than straight fact, with exaggerated Caledonian casualties and a very Roman speech by Calgacus.

In fact some archaeologists have doubted whether the battle actually took place, as, although we have remains of Roman forts and other structures throughout the country, no evidence of such a huge battle has ever been unearthed and we only have Tacitus's account to go on. Could it be that Agricola's great victory was really only an invention of his own spin doctor?

Whatever the truth about Mons Graupius, Agricola was displeased to be recalled from his conquests by the Emperor Domitian, probably for political reasons, and the Romans gave up thoughts of conquest and attempted to establish a settled frontier.

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BBC History - The Romans
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Scottish Glen
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