Guerilla Days in Scotland

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CALEDONIAN GUERRILLAS CRUSH NEW WORLD ORDER


In the first century, implementing brutal new-world order, Roman forces had easily conquered indigenous fighting forces in Greece (Achaea), the Middle East (Judea) and the North African coastal region. They swept across Spain (Hispania), France (Gaul or Gallia) and administered England and Wales as the Roman province of Britannia, but they never fully occupied what is now Scotland.

At this last unoccupied corner of the known world, a hero had developed a deadly new style of combat - guerrilla warfare - and in AD 83 his Celtic warriors formed a line of defence on a remote Scottish hill and fought for their lives and lands the at The Battle of Mons Graupius. Albeit the location of this battle is disputed, the moral of this story is one that is still echoed in modern wars such as Vietnam 'never, ever underestimate farmers fighting for their ancestral land.'

REBELLION AGAINST NEW WORLD ORDER

In the first century, groups of indigenous people, in what is now Scotland, formed a highly-organised society that Greek and Roman historians called the "Caledonii" (Caledonians) or Caledonian Confederacy. Since the Iron Age these highly-successful agriculturalists maintained an almost impregnable system of defensive hillforts to protect their wheat fields and resource rich mines. Inspired by the Roman threat, the tribes dropped their ancestral differences and united to defend the last corner of free land in the known world.

In the summer of 77 AD Rome appointed Gnaeus Julius Agricola as the new governor of Britannia and soon after his arrival he crushed the Ordovices tribe of north Wales. Further marking his dominance in Britain, within three months of arriving he led an army to Mona (Anglesey) and 'almost extinguished' the last centre of druidism bringing thousands of years of sacred heritage to a hyper-violent end.

Chasing fleeing Druids leaders to their remote north Highland hillforts and sacred islands, Agricola began invading the lands of the Caledonians and by 82 CE his forces had established fortifications between the rivers Clyde and Forth and the following year he encircled the northern tribes beyond the River Forth with a fleet of warships.

Accordingly he [Agricola] 'sent forward the fleet to make descents on various places, and to spread a general and vague panic; and then, with his army in light marching order, and strengthened by the best of the British soldiers... he advanced to Mons Graupius, of which the enemy was already in occupation.(Cornelius Tacitus Agricola XXIX.ii)'.

The Caledonian farmers would never have seen anything like a Roman war fleet and these types of voyages up and down the Scottish coasts may have rekindled the extensive broch building project that fortified the north east coast of Scotland as far north as Shetland.

Agricola grossly underestimated the Caledonian's emotional connection with their land and heritage, and rather than fleeing in terror the Caledonians orchestrated a cunning night raid on the Roman camp of the Legio IX Hispana (9th legion) - 'Bursting in upon them (the Romans) they were terrified in their sleep[...] causing many fatalities.' The Caledonians celebrated a massacre, but they had broken rule number one i keeping safe - don't poke the bear!

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

Agricola constructed a massive wooden fort at Trimontium (Melrose) and pushed his armies north to the estuary of the River Taus (River Tay) where he established forts, including a legionary fortress at Inchtuthil. The Romans reached the north east coast of Scotland in the summer of AD 83 seeking war with the last of Brittania's indigenous tribes who had successfully avoided fighting on open battlefields. To flush out the Caledonians from their hillforts the Romans marched on their wheat granaries leaving them with no choice but to fight or starve the following winter.

The only surviving information about the Caledonians is in Roman sources, so the lines between fact and fiction have not so much been blurred as totally disintegrated and reformed into a biased tract of Roman propaganda. Roman historian Tacitus recorded:

The Caledonians formed a highly effective line of resistance deploying exceptionally effective guerrilla tactics, which proved to be stronger, more creative and deadlier than anything the Romans had ever experienced [...] entirely changing the Roman Commanders military paradigm.

The only surviving record of the Battle of Mons Graupius is found in Agricola, written by Tacitus, Agricola’s son-in-law, in which '10,000 Caledonian lives' were said to have been lost, at a cost of only 360 auxiliary Roman troops. It was common place in Roman accounts of wars for the numbers in Roman armies to be diminished and for those of their enemies to be exaggerated, but Tacitus' account in this instance was a blatant exaggeration.

RETURN OF THE CALDONII

There is no doubt that Agricola won the Battle of Mons Graupius and Tacitus tells us that the 20'000 surviving Caledonians scattered into the surrounds woods. What he failed to record was what happened after the battle. The Picts knew it was late in the year and the battle season had ended so they simply retreated deeper into their northern territories offering Agricola two options; to advance into worsening weather, rough terrain, mountains, bogs, and river fords, or to withdraw south for the winter. Agricola was called back to Rome and never returned to defeat the Caledonians. Tacitus's statement (in latin) Perdomita Britannia et statim missa ("Britain was completely conquered and immediately let go") denoted unification of the whole island under Roman rule, after Agricola's successful campaign in the north. The historical fact hidden behind all the Roman pseudo-history is that the territory known today as Scotland was never entirely conquered by the Romans.

The construction of Hadrian's Wall began in 122 CE as a border between the 'civilised' Roman world and the wilderness of the northern Picts. What Roman records don’t make much mention of were the 20’000 Caledonian soldiers who survived Mons Graupius and their continued resistance, applying guerrilla tactics, necessitating the building of another nationwide stone barrier - The Antonine Wall in 142 CE.

Archaeology has shown that following Agricola's march into battle at Mons Graupius, an attempt had been made to set up a new frontier deep into what we now know as Scotland. This comprised the Gask Ridge, a series of forts, or signal stations, located along the ridge of land running from the river Teith at Doune, near Stirling, to what is now the city of Perth on the Tay. These were linked to a series of larger fortifications at what are known as the Glen Forts of Fendoch, Dalginross, Bochastle, Malling and Drumquassle. This border seems to have been abandoned by 86 CE and this is as far north as the Romans asserted any kind of power over indigenous people. It must have truly pained Agricola's ego to have returned to Rome knowing that a group of "uncivilised" indigenous warrior-farmers had thwarted his plans for nationwide control of Britain. - Caledonian Guerrillas Crush New World Order — ASHLEY COWIE

The coming of Caesar

'Julius Caesar recorded the "first account of a naval battle in the North Atlantic". It actually occurred in what is now the English Channel, off the coast of ancient Celtic Brittany in 56 BC. According to Julius Caesar the Celtic Veneti were a formidable naval power whose birlinn proved superior to the Roman galleys. He described the Veneti birlinn in detail at least 800 years before the first Viking longboats! He compared & contrasted them to the Roman galleys. He describes the Veneti birlinn as having high prows & sterns to withstand high sea waves and flatter keels that allowed the navigation of more shallow waters where Roman Galleys could not go. They were made of oak with a leather sail. Roman galleys were made of soft woods such as pine or fir sufficient for sailing the Mediterranean. Celtic galleys were built to withstand the Atlantic ocean, but they also withstood every Roman attempt to ram them. included ramming the enemy vessel and the occupants of the opposing ships engaging in individual combat until the rammed boat sank. But a Roman galley ramming a Veneti birlinn was like trying to stop a British tank by ramming it with an Italian sports car. After sinking several Roman galleys from failed ramming attempts, Julius Caesar ordered additional soldiers packed onto each Roman galley. The Roman troops then stormed the Veneti galleys to escape their own sinking vessel and gained a costly victory.'

Julius Caesar's victories in the Gallic Wars, completed by 51 BCE, extended Rome's territory to the English Channel and the Rhine. Caesar became the first Roman general to cross both bodies of water when he built a bridge across the Rhine and conducted the first invasion of Britain.

Caesar reports in the Bellum Gallicum that in 57 BCE, the Gauls on the Atlantic coast, including the Veneti, were forced to submit to Caesar's authority as governor. They were obliged to sign treaties and yield hostages as a token of good faith. However, in 56 BCE, the Veneti captured some of Julius Caesar's officers while they were foraging within their legions, intent on using them as bargaining chips to secure the release of the hostages Caesar had forced them to give him. Angered by what he considered a breach of law, Caesar prepared for war.

Given the highly defendable nature of the Veneti strongholds, land attacks were frustrated by the incoming tide, and naval forces were left trapped on the rocks when the tide ebbed. Despite this, Caesar managed to engineer moles and raised siegeworks that provided his legions with a base of operations. However, once the Veneti were threatened in one stronghold, they used their fleet to evacuate to another stronghold, obliging the Romans to repeat the same engineering feat elsewhere.

The end of the Veneti?

The strongholds on the coast were now stormed and the nobles were slaughtered and the rest sold into slavery. This served as a lesson to the rest of the confederacy of the fate in store for those who dared to stand against Rome.

Who were the Picts?

Pictish is the extinct language, or dialect, spoken by the Picts, the people of eastern and northern Scotland from the late Iron Age to the Early Middle Ages. There is virtually no direct attestation of Pictish, short of a limited number of geographical and personal names found on monuments and the contemporary records in the area controlled by the Kingdom of the Picts. Such evidence, however, points to the language being closely related to the Brittonic language spoken prior to Anglo-Saxon settlement in what is now southern Scotland, England and Wales. A minority view held by a few scholars claims that Pictish was at least partially non-Indo-European or that a non-Indo-European and Brittonic language coexisted.

The evidence of place names and personal names demonstrates that an Insular Celtic language related to the more southerly Brittonic languages was formerly spoken in the Pictish area. The view of Pictish as a P-Celtic language was first proposed in 1582 by George Buchanan, who aligned the language with Gaulish. A compatible view was advanced by antiquarian George Chalmers in the early 19th century. Chalmers considered that Pictish and Brittonic were one and the same, basing his argument on P-Celtic orthography in the Pictish king lists and in place names predominant in historically Pictish areas. Celtic scholar Whitley Stokes, in a philological study of the Irish annals, concluded that Pictish was closely related to Welsh. - Picts
 

Dublin 4

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A good book for you about the Picts is "A Pictish Panorama".

Scotland was a lot bigger until the Treaty of York.

Dunbarton/Dumbarton, Aberdeen, Aberystwyth & all those Touch Points + overlaps are very interesting.
 
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A good book for you about the Picts is "A Pictish Panorama".
However, once the Veneti were threatened in one stronghold, they used their fleet to evacuate to another stronghold, obliging the Romans to repeat the same engineering feat elsewhere.

Chalmers considered that Pictish and Brittonic were one and the same, basing his argument on P-Celtic orthography in the Pictish king lists and in place names predominant in historically Pictish areas. - Picts
I had a look for it online, and all I could find was the Introduction. I have a sneaky feeling that the Veneti are the Picts. Caesars account of their seafaring ability proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that they had the ability to up-sticks and sail north, and they also spoke the same language. I was going to call this thread Perdomita Britannia et statim missa - "Britain was completely conquered and immediately let go". To borrow a phrase from Pearse, ''You can not conquer Scotland. If our deed has not been sufficient to win freedom, our great, great, great grandchildren will win it by a better deed.''

In the first century, implementing brutal new-world order, Roman forces had easily conquered indigenous fighting forces in Greece (Achaea), the Middle East (Judea) and the North African coastal region. They swept across Spain (Hispania), France (Gaul or Gallia) and administered England and Wales as the Roman province of Britannia, but they never fully occupied what is now Scotland.
This border seems to have been abandoned by 86 CE and this is as far north as the Romans asserted any kind of power over indigenous people. It must have truly pained Agricola's ego to have returned to Rome knowing that a group of "uncivilised" indigenous warrior-farmers had thwarted his plans for nationwide control of Britain.
The Romans must have been fuming, but I think overall it would have done more than damage a few ego's, because the idea that they weren't all-powerful and that they could be defeated would have been dangerous psychologically in Greece, the Middle East, North Africa, Spain, France, England and Wales.
 

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1st edition of A Pictish Panorama edited by Eric H. Nicoll

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Today in 1513, the English annihilated a Scottish army at the battle of Flodden, the largest ever fought between the two nations.

The Scottish king was among the dead, as was a representative of nearly every noble house in Scotland.
 
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Neil Oliver's scottish history gave a good account of how those scots who spoke Gallic got sidelined by Anglo types the Stewarts.

at least half of scotland seems to have much antipathy towards gallic, even today.
 

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Neil Oliver's scottish history gave a good account of how those scots who spoke Gallic got sidelined by Anglo types the Stewarts.

at least half of scotland seems to have much antipathy towards gallic, even today.

A lot of the Scotch dislike the Gaelic language, but you don't get the kind of frothing at the mouth hate that many Irish have towards Irish.
 

Myles O'Reilly

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Today in 1513, the English annihilated a Scottish army at the battle of Flodden, the largest ever fought between the two nations.

The Scottish king was among the dead, as was a representative of nearly every noble house in Scotland.
English bastard. I'd have you shot out of hand if I had my way.
 
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