The Romans landed in Britain in 43AD, and conquered this land, defeating the uprising led by Boudicca. Britain was now under Roman rule. Scotland’s inhabitants new they be at risk, from Roman forces, but had no intention of bowing down to the will of Rome.
In the year 79AD, a Roman fleet surveyed Scotland’s coastline, looking for weak points. By 83AD, Roman forces had conquered parts of southern Scotland. Scotland’s Caledonian forces faced an imminent invasion. The Caledonian went on the attack against Roman forts and legions. One surprise night attack by the Caledonian’s against the Roman’s nearly wiped out the 9th legion, but was saved by Agricola’s cavalry.
In the summer of 84AD, Agricola advanced into Caledonian territory in the north-east, hoping to force a battle.
“The Battle of Mons Graupius.”
Everything depended on this encounter. Some 30,000 Caledonian’s faced a Roman army half its size, and they had the advantage of holding higher ground, it looked a foregone conclusion, it should have been a victory to the Caledonian’s. What the Caledonian’s lacked was organisation and military tactics, as used by the Roman’s.
The Romans were tightly disciplined and relied on a short stabbing sword for combat. Their front line was made up of Germanic auxiliary troops from Holland and Belgium, with the Roman legionaries following up at the rear. At one point the Caledonians, using their greater numbers, outflanked the Romans only to meet hidden Roman cavalry suddenly closing on them.
Any hopes of a Caledonian victory soon vanished. In a merciless bloodbath 10,000 were slaughtered. Many fought valiantly to the end, others fled into the surrounding woods and hills, burning their houses in fear of Roman reprisals.
The following day… an awful silence reigned; the hills were deserted, houses smoking in the distance…