Talk:Battle of Mons Graupius

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Check out the Roman Gask Project web site for convincing arguments that the battle of Mons Graupius never happened. The main points are; the archaelogical evidence that the Romans were in what is today Scotland a decade before Agricola (which Tacitus claims he entered first), the striking similarities between Caesar's Gallic Wars and several elements in Tacitus' Agricola, the assertion that Agricola was more of a bureaucrat than soldier, who was sent north to organize already conquered territory, the lightness of the population north of the Forth/Clyde line and finally the continuing lack of evidence that any large military engagement was fought at that time or at any time, during the Roman Britain period in what is now Scotland...Brian MacHamish Kennedy Jan 17 2012 — Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.105.52.6 (talk) 22:45, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Miscellaneous comments[edit]

I was brought up in Scotland to understand that this battle was called 'Mons Grampus' and that somewhere in or around the Grampian Mountains in northern Scotland, to the west of Aberdeen, was the most likely location.

jim.mangles@ntlworld.com


It would seem that it is Graupius in the uncorrupted Latin text, but Grampius became the word in Scotland following a transcription error: http://www.agtb.org/the-romans.htm

Djnjwd 12:54, 6 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Shouldn't someone mention the similarities of Mons Grapius and Nechantesmere? I've heard a theory that the terrain was nearly identical, and the Caledonian retreat in 83 was part of feigned retreat manouevre, like the one that annihilated the Anglo-Saxons at Dunnichen in 685. I know it sounds kinda iffy and "noble savage"-ish, but I think it's worth mentioning. Hello! Are you implying that the account by Tacitus is a medieval forgery that drew on the story of the Angle defeat at Nectansmere?! — Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.105.52.6 (talk) 22:51, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Calgacus, etc..[edit]

Nowhere is is said that Calgacus was the leader of the Caledonian army, he is merely somebody credited with making a speech. Which, in all likelihood, he never made in the first place. If, that is, he ever actually existed. Or if the battle itself ever really took place, for that matter. All of the "evidence" comes from Tacitus, about whomn Tertullian wrote: Cornelius Tacitus, however, - who, to say the truth, is most loquacious in falsehood and who is contradicted in other Scottish matters by archaeological evidence. Lianachan 15:41, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

See Talk:Calgacus. The battle figures reported are rather fanciful at least. It is unlikely, for instance, that Caledonia's population was much greater than 30000 (the alleged army size). Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 02:25, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

We need to look at the facts here. 1) The only "evidence" of this battle comes from Tacitus, the son in law of Agricola who could not possibly be considered a neutral source. 3) After the battle Agricola was recalled to Rome and removed from his command, possibly in disgrace. 4) The Romans after the battle abandoned their previous northern frontier of Antonine's wall, retreated behind Hadrians Wall,never seriously to venture into Caledonia again. 5) The Ninth Legion who marched north to subdue the Caledonians vanished off the face of the earth, never to be seen again - possibly totally anihilated by the Caledonians.

Roman history is probably the most unreliable ever, propoganda and not an accurate record.The known facts of this campaaign totally contradict Tacitus' account.


Regardong the above list of supposed facts:

Tacitus is indeed not neutral as an observer of events but he could hardly lie wholescale about them given they occured in living memory. Furthermore he is generally regarded as one of the most reliable ancient historians. The archaeological evidence does indicate Roman activity across the area Tacitus desribes in the Agricola and generally supports his account.

There is no evidence Agricola was disgraced, in fact he was awarded triumphal honours and another appointment. He had already been govenor an unusually long time and all indications are his govenorship was considered a success.

Neither Hadrian's wall or the Antonine wall existed when Agricola was in Britain.

The fate of the Ninth Legion is unknown and probably had nothing to do with the Caledonians. Also the contention that there can't have been a battle because Tacitus is a liar but the Caledonians destroyed an entire legion is rather amusing/ — Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.40.217.183 (talk) 22:03, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

The argument that Tacitus couldn't lie wholesale seems to ignore the fact that such lies have been pretty successful in modern times and Tacitus didn't have to worry about modern media. The archaeological evidence doesn't give any specific support to the battle. And of course there's evidence he was disgraced.
"104. Epitome of Dio Cassius, LXVI, 20, 1-3 In the mean time, war broke out again in Britain, and Gnaeus Julius Agricola overran all the enemy's territory there. ... These were the events in Britain and as a result Titus was given the title Imperator for the fifteenth time. Agricola, however, lived out the rest of his life in disgrace and want since he had accomplished more than was proper for a general. Finally he was murdered by Domitian for this very reason, though he had received triumphal honours from Titus. " Dougweller (talk) 06:09, 24 July 2011 (UTC)

Cassius Dio is generally regarded as a much less reliable source than Tacitus. Please give an example of an entire battle invented in modern times?? And the lack of archaeological evidence is really here nor there, since firstly a site cannot be definitely identified (hardly unusual given the date of the engagement) and that there are secondly very many battlefields not attested by archaeology. Bannockburn isn't for example, but there is no doubt that engagement occured. Given the nature of the battle, the lack of fortifications etc, and the probable lack of metal artifacts and the time elapsed it would be unusual if there were any archaeological evidence. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.40.0.152 (talk) 23:29, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

The Ninth Legion did not disappear in Caledonia[edit]

The Ninth Legion did not disappear in Caledonia, it was likelytransferred to Germania.

The ninth legion (or just a vexillatio of it?) was for a brief period after 121 at Noviomagus in Germania Inferior. (Around the same time VI Victrix moved from Germania Inferior to Britain, so it likely was a transfer). The fact that we know the names of several high officers of the Ninth who can not have served earlier than 122 (e.g., Lucius Aemilius Karus, governor of Arabia in 142/143), is another indication that the legion was not destroyed but transferred. This proves that it was still in existence during the reign of Hadrian. After this, the legion disappears from the sources. It may have been destroyed during the Jewish revolt of Simon ben Kosiba (132-136), in Cappadocia in 161, or during a revolt on the Danube in 162. There is an inscription from the reign of Marcus Aurelius (161-180) that sums up all legions, and VIIII Hispana is missing; this means that it was destroyed before or during his reign. Roy 18:18, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

Mons Graupius[edit]

A temporary camp at Durno (20m or 32km NW of Aberdeen) covered 144 acres (60ha) and could have held 24000 men. I've added a footnote and reference.

"The successful auxiliaries had been recruited from the Batavians" - earlier text stated that they were Batavians and Tungrians.

"10,000 Caledonian lives were lost at a cost of only 360 Romans" - if only auxiliary troops took part, the casualties couldn't have been Romans. Boith corrected. Rambler24 (talk) 17:22, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

Including Tacitus's numbers in the info box[edit]

Pace Dougweller, even if our only source is of admitted unreliability, I still think we should include the numbers he gives in the info box. It is, after all, a large proportion of the available information about the actual battle, and I don't think that any critic has been so bold as to emend them. Richard Keatinge (talk) 19:34, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

The information is of interest but I suggest it be referenced and tagged with either text or a note to indicate the dubiety of the information. It's not so much that the critics seek to amend purely notional figures as disparage the story as, at best, exaggeration. Ben MacDui 08:13, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
I agree. The big problem with infoboxes is that they grab people's attention immediately and they assume that anything in them is fact. We had a big dispute over the use of an infobox on the Trojan war for this reason. We don't know what happened here, we do know that Tacitus had politics in mind when he wrote, and we don't so far as I can recall have any evidence for this battle other than Tacitus. Dougweller (talk) 17:49, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
In the Trojan war case I'd agree - but we have here some specific and uncontested figures. From an admittedly dodgy source, but the only source, and one who would have been in a position to have them from the general. I strongly suggest that they should be in the infobox. However, I seem to be in a minority of one here, so I'll leave the issue for the moment. Richard Keatinge (talk) 09:20, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
Apparently not uncontested, see "mons+graupius"&q=reduced#search_anchor which says "Whether or not Agricola was duly impressed by the sounds and the spectacle of a large British host working itself up in preparation for battle, he seems at least to have been impressed by the size and situation of the men arranged against him. We have reduced their numbers to a third of those provided by Tacitus, but may assume that this was the largest single force...". Anyone have this book? Dougweller (talk) 09:56, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

North-East Scotland?[edit]

I think the article, a similar material elsewhere on Wiki, does not do justice to the more up-to-date and sophisticated arguments put forward by James Fraser. As was pointed out, the place name Moncreiffe is a good descendant from the Celtic term behind Mons Graupius (both 'hill of the tree'); c/f the medieval battle of Dorsum Crup. There is by comparison very little justification on surviving evidence for a location in the north-east. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 15:47, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

Here is another one for Elgin, this time with potential new Fort based on crop marks: Mons Graupius Revealed[[1]] — Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.14.206.26 (talk) 22:42, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

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Date of the battle[edit]

At time of me writing this, the introduction says "taking place in AD 83 or, less probably, 84." this is not cited nor discussed further later in the article. I am not a seasoned wiki editor, but I feel like it is bad form to have information in the intro that is excluded from the body of the article.

I suggest we change the intro to say "probably taking place in AD 83" and include discussion of the date in the "Context" section in the main body of the article. Perhaps someone who has read a source on the date can help with this? Thanks!


91.207.57.51 (talk) 15:50, 29 May 2018 (UTC)

The current wording is accurate based on the limited information available. I'm not sure what more can be added without getting into POV/OR issues. Mediatech492 (talk) 16:06, 29 May 2018 (UTC)

What "limited information"? The date has no citation. The date of the battle, and it's uncertainty, should be included in the main body of the article. 86.173.140.235 (talk) 02:10, 1 June 2018 (UTC)

The articles sources are cited, w need not reiterate them here. Mediatech492 (talk) 02:25, 1 June 2018 (UTC)