Gnaeus Julius Agricola

Gnaeus Julius Agricola (/əˈɡrɪkələ/; 13 June 40 – 23 August 93) was a Gallo-Roman general responsible for much of the Roman conquest of Britain. Written by his son-in-law Tacitus, the De vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae is the primary source for most of what is known about him,[1] along with detailed archaeological evidence from northern Britain.[2]

Agricola began his military career in Britain, serving under governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus. His subsequent career saw him serve in a variety of positions; he was appointed quaestor in Asia province in 64, then Plebeian Tribune in 66, and praetor in 68. He supported Vespasian during the Year of the Four Emperors (69), and was given a military command in Britain when the latter became emperor. When his command ended in 73, he was made patrician in Rome and appointed governor of Gallia Aquitania. He was made consul and governor of Britannia in 77. While there, he completed the conquest of what is now Wales and northern England, and led his army to the far north of Scotland, establishing forts across much of the Lowlands. He was recalled from Britain in 85 after an unusually lengthy service, and thereafter retired from military and public life.

Gnaeus Julius Agricola
Statue of Agricola at Bath
A statue of Agricola erected at the Roman Baths at Bath in 1894
Born13 June 40
Gallia Narbonensis
Died23 August 93 (aged 53)
Gallia Narbonensis
AllegianceRoman Empire
Years of service58–85
Commands heldLegio XX Valeria Victrix
Gallia Aquitania
Battles/warsBattle of Watling Street
Battle of Mons Graupius
AwardsOrnamenta triumphalia

Early life

Agricola was born in the colonia of Forum Julii, Gallia Narbonensis (now Fréjus, France). Agricola's parents were from noted Gallo-Roman political families of senatorial rank, and his ancestors were Romanised Gauls of local origin.[3] Both of his grandfathers served as imperial governors. His father, Lucius Julius Graecinus, was a praetor and had become a member of the Roman Senate in the year of his birth. Graecinus had become distinguished by his interest in philosophy. Between August 40 and January 41, the Emperor Caligula ordered his death because he refused to prosecute the Emperor's second cousin Marcus Junius Silanus.[4]

His mother was Julia Procilla. The Roman historian Tacitus describes her as "a lady of singular virtue". Tacitus states that Procilla had a fond affection for her son. Agricola was educated in Massilia (Marseille), and showed what was considered an unhealthy interest in philosophy.

Political career

He began his career in Roman public life as a military tribune, serving in Britain under Gaius Suetonius Paulinus from 58 to 62. He was probably attached to the Legio II Augusta, but was chosen to serve on Suetonius's staff[5] and thus almost certainly participated in the suppression of Boudica's uprising in 61.

Returning from Britain to Rome in 62, he married Domitia Decidiana, a woman of noble birth. Their first child was a son. Agricola was appointed as quaestor for 64, which he served in the province of Asia under the corrupt proconsul Lucius Salvius Otho Titianus. While he was there, his daughter, Julia Agricola, was born, but his son died shortly afterwards. He was tribune of the plebs in 66 and praetor in June 68, during which time he was ordered by the Governor of Spain Galba to take an inventory of the temple treasures.

During that same, the emperor Nero was declared a public enemy by the Senate and committed suicide, and the period of civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors began. Galba succeeded Nero, but was murdered in early 69 by Otho, who took the throne. Agricola's mother was murdered on her estate in Liguria by Otho's marauding fleet. Hearing of Vespasian's bid for the empire, Agricola immediately gave him his support. Otho meanwhile committed suicide after being defeated by Vitellius.

After Vespasian had established himself as emperor, Agricola was appointed to the command of the Legio XX Valeria Victrix, stationed in Britain, in place of Marcus Roscius Coelius, who had stirred up a mutiny against the governor, Marcus Vettius Bolanus. Britain had revolted during the year of civil war, and Bolanus was a mild governor. Agricola reimposed discipline on the legion and helped to consolidate Roman rule. In 71, Bolanus was replaced by a more aggressive governor, Quintus Petillius Cerialis, and Agricola was able to display his talents as a commander in campaigns against the Brigantes in northern England.

When his command ended in 73, Agricola was enrolled as a patrician and appointed to govern Gallia Aquitania. There he stayed for almost three years. In 76 or 77, he was recalled to Rome and appointed suffect consul,[6] and betrothed his daughter to Tacitus. The following year, Tacitus and Julia married; Agricola was appointed to the College of Pontiffs, and returned to Britain for a third time, as its governor (Legatus Augusti pro praetore).

Governor of Britain


Arriving in midsummer of 77, Agricola discovered that the Ordovices of north Wales had virtually destroyed the Roman cavalry stationed in their territory. He immediately moved against them and defeated them. He then moved north to the island of Mona (Anglesey), which Suetonius Paulinus had failed to subjugate in 60 because of the outbreak of the Boudican rebellion, and forced its inhabitants to sue for peace. He established a good reputation as an administrator, as well as a commander, by reforming the widely corrupt corn levy. He introduced Romanising measures, encouraging communities to build towns on the Roman model and educating the sons of the native nobility in the Roman manner.

Agricola also expanded Roman rule north into Caledonia (modern Scotland). In the summer of 79, he pushed his armies to the estuary of the river Taus, usually interpreted as the Firth of Tay, virtually unchallenged, and established some forts. Though their location is left unspecified, the close dating of the fort at Elginhaugh in Midlothian makes it a possible candidate.

Agricola in Ireland?

In 81, Agricola "crossed in the first ship" and defeated peoples unknown to the Romans until then. Tacitus, in Chapter 24 of Agricola,[7] does not tell us what body of water he crossed, although most scholars believe it was the Clyde or Forth, and some translators even add the name of their preferred river to the text; however, the rest of the chapter exclusively concerns Ireland, so southwest Scotland is perhaps to be preferred.[8] The text of the Agricola has been amended here to record the Romans "crossing into trackless wastes", referring to the wilds of the Galloway peninsula.[9] Agricola fortified the coast facing Ireland, and Tacitus recalls that his father-in-law often claimed the island could be conquered with a single legion and auxiliaries. He had given refuge to an exiled Irish king whom he hoped he might use as the excuse for conquest. This conquest never happened, but some historians believe the crossing referred to was in fact a small-scale exploratory or punitive expedition to Ireland,[10] though no Roman camps have been identified to confirm such a suggestion.[11]

Irish legend provides a striking parallel. Tuathal Teachtmhar, a legendary High King, is said to have been exiled from Ireland as a boy, and to have returned from Britain at the head of an army to claim the throne. The traditional date of his return is 76–80, and archaeology has found Roman or Romano-British artefacts in several sites associated with Tuathal.[12]

The invasion of Caledonia (Scotland)


The following year, Agricola raised a fleet and encircled the tribes beyond the Forth, and the Caledonians rose in great numbers against him. They attacked the camp of the Legio IX Hispana at night, but Agricola sent in his cavalry and they were put to flight. The Romans responded by pushing further north. Another son was born to Agricola this year, but died before his first birthday.

In the summer of 83, Agricola faced the massed armies of the Caledonians, led by Calgacus, at the Battle of Mons Graupius.[13] Tacitus estimates their numbers at more than 30,000.[14] Agricola put his auxiliaries in the front line, keeping the legions in reserve, and relied on close-quarters fighting to make the Caledonians' unpointed slashing swords useless as they were unable to swing them properly or utilise thrusting attacks.[15] Even though the Caledonians were put to rout and therefore lost this battle, two thirds of their army managed to escape and hide in the Highlands or the "trackless wilds" as Tacitus calls them. Battle casualties were estimated by Tacitus to be about 10,000 on the Caledonian side and 360 on the Roman side.

A number of authors have reckoned the battle to have occurred in the Grampian Mounth within sight of the North Sea.[16] In particular, Roy,[17] Surenne, Watt, Hogan[18] and others have advanced notions that the site of the battle may have been Kempstone Hill, Megray Hill or other knolls near the Raedykes Roman camp; these points of high ground are proximate to the Elsick Mounth, an ancient trackway used by Romans and Caledonians for military manoeuvres. However, following the discovery of the Roman camp at Durno in 1975, most scholars now believe that the battle took place on the ground around Bennachie in Aberdeenshire.[19]

Satisfied with his victory, Agricola extracted hostages from the Caledonian tribes. He may have marched his army to the northern coast of Britain,[20] as evidenced by the probable discovery of a Roman fort at Cawdor (near Inverness).[21]

He also instructed the prefect of the fleet to sail around the north coast, confirming (allegedly for the first time) that Britain was in fact an island.

Later years

Agricola was recalled from Britain in 85, after an unusually long tenure as governor. Tacitus claims Domitian ordered his recall because Agricola's successes outshone the Emperor's own modest victories in Germany. He re-entered Rome unobtrusively, reporting as ordered to the palace at night. The relationship between Agricola and the Emperor is unclear; on the one hand, Agricola was awarded triumphal decorations and a statue (the highest military honours apart from an actual triumph); on the other, Agricola never again held a civil or military post, in spite of his experience and renown. He was offered the governorship of the province of Africa, but declined it, whether due to ill health or (as Tacitus claims) the machinations of Domitian. In 93, Agricola died on his family estates in Gallia Narbonensis aged fifty-three. Rumours circulated attributing the death to a poison administered by the Emperor Domitian, but no positive evidence for this was ever produced.

See also


  1. ^ Tacitus, Agricola; Dio Cassius (Roman History 66.20) and three inscriptions found in Britain (including the Verulamium Forum inscription) also make reference to Agricola.
  2. ^ Hanson, W.S. (1991), Agricola and the conquest of the north (2nd edn), London: Batsford.
  3. ^ On Agricola's life and career, see A.R. Birley, The Roman Government of Britain (Oxford, 2005), pp. 71-95, with further references.
  4. ^ Birley, Anthony R. (1996), "Iulius Agricola, Cn.", in Hornblower, Simon, Oxford Classical Dictionary, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  5. ^ Agricola 5
  6. ^ D.B. Campbell, "The consulship of Agricola", Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 63 (1986), pp. 197-200, for the possible dates.
  7. ^ Agricola 24
  8. ^ W.S. Hanson 1991 Agricola and the conquest of the north, (2nd edn) Batsford, London, pp. 93-96
  9. ^ Campbell, Duncan B. (2010). Mons Graupius AD 83: Rome's battle at the edge of the world. Oxford: Osprey. ISBN 9781846039263.
  10. ^ Di Martino, Vittorio (2006). Roman Ireland. Cork: Collins. ISBN 9781905172191.
  11. ^ See, in general, Campbell, Duncan B. (2014). "Did the Romans invade Ireland?". Ancient Warfare. 8 (2): 48–52.
  12. ^ Warner, R. B. (1995). "Tuathal Techtmar: a myth or ancient literary evidence for a Roman invasion?". Emania (13).
  13. ^ On the battle in general, see Duncan B. Campbell, Mons Grapius AD 83 (2010), pp. 57-83.
  14. ^ Tacitus, Agricola 29
  15. ^ "Cornelius Tacitus, The Life of Cnæus Julius Agricola, chapter 36". Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  16. ^ On the battle's location, see Duncan B. Campbell, "Search for a lost battlefield", Ancient Warfare Vol. 8 issue 1 (2014), pp. 47-51.
  17. ^ William Roy, The Military Antiquities of the Romans in Britain, 1793
  18. ^ C. Michael Hogan, Elsick Mounth, The Megalithic Portal, ed. A. Burnham
  19. ^ St Joseph, J.K. (1978). "The camp at Durno, Aberdeenshire, and the site of Mons Graupius". Britannia. 9: 271–287.
  20. ^ Wolfson, Stan (2002). "The Boresti: The creation of a myth". Tacitus, Thule and Caledonia. In the manuscript of Agricola 38.2: In finis Borestorum exercitum deducit - He led his army down into the territory of the Boresti" may be emended to: in finis boreos totum exercitum deducit - He led his entire army down into the northern extremities"
  21. ^ Excavations at Cawdor 1986


  • Anthony Birley (1996), “Iulius Agricola, Cn.”, in Hornblower, Simon, Oxford Classical Dictionary, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Duncan B Campbell, Mons Graupius AD 83, Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2010. 96pp.
  • "Agricola's Campaigns", special issue of Ancient Warfare, 1/1 (2007)
  • Wolfson, Stan. Tacitus, Thule and Caledonia: the achievements of Agricola's navy in their true perspective. Oxford, England: Archaeopress, 2008. 118pp. (BAR British series; 459).

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Gaius Catellius Celer Gaius Arruntius Catellius Celer,
and Marcus Arruntius Aquila

as Suffect consul
Suffect Consul of the Roman Republic
with ignotus
Succeeded by
Decimus Junius Novius Priscus,
and Lucius Ceionius Commodus
Preceded by
Sextus Julius Frontinus
Roman governors of Britain
Succeeded by
Sallustius Lucullus

== Events ==

=== AD 80 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Emperor Titus completes and inaugurates the Colosseum with 100 days of games.

The earliest stage of Lullingstone Roman villa is built.

The Roman occupation of Britain reaches the River Tyne–Solway Firth frontier area. Gnaeus Julius Agricola creates a fleet for the conquest of Caledonia; he finally proves that Britannia is an island.

Legio II Adiutrix is stationed at Lindum Colonia (modern Lincoln). The city is an important settlement for retired Roman legionaries.

The original Roman Pantheon is destroyed in a fire, along with many other buildings.

The Eifel Aqueduct is constructed to bring water 95 km (59 mi) from the Eifel region to Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensum (modern Cologne).

Gnaeus Julius Agricola begins his invasion of Scotland.

====== Asia ======

Some 30,000 Asian tribesmen migrate from the steppes to the west with 40,000 horses and 100,000 cattle, joining with Iranian tribesmen and with Mongols from the Siberian forests to form a group that will be known in Europe as the Huns.

==== By topic ====

====== Arts and sciences ======

The aeolipile, the first steam engine, is described by Hero of Alexandria.

====== Religion ======

The Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles are written (approximate date).

=== AD 81 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

September 14 – Domitian succeeds his brother Titus as emperor. Domitian is not a soldier like his two predecessors, and his administration is directed towards the reinforcement of a monarchy. By taking the title of Dominus ("lord"), he scandalizes the senatorial aristocracy. Romanisation progresses in the provinces, and life in the cities is greatly improved. Many provincials – Spanish, Gallic, and African – become Senators.

The Arch of Titus is constructed.

Pliny the Younger is flamen Divi Augusti (priest in the cult of the Emperor).

==== By topic ====

====== Commerce ======

The silver content of the Roman denarius rises to 92% under emperor Domitian, up from 81% in the reign of Vitellius.

=== AD 82 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Roman emperor Domitian becomes Roman Consul.

Gnaeus Julius Agricola raises a fleet and encircles the Celtic tribes beyond the Forth, the Caledonians rise in great numbers against the Romans. They attack the camp of Legio IX Hispana at night, but Agricola sends his cavalry in and put them to flight.

Calgacus unites the Picts (30,000 men) in Scotland and is made chieftain of the Caledonian Confederacy.

Dio Chrysostom is banished from Rome, Italy, and Bithynia after advising one of the Emperor's conspiring relatives.

Domitian levies Legio I Minervia.

=== AD 83 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Possible date of the Battle of Mons Graupius (AD 83 or 84). According to Tacitus, 10,000 Britons and 360 Romans are killed.

Roman emperor Domitian fights the Chatti, a Germanic tribe. His victory allows the construction of fortifications (Limes) along the Rhine-frontier.

Inchtuthil, Roman fort built in Scotland.

Domitian is again also a Roman Consul.

Possible date that Demetrius of Tarsus visited an island in the Hebrides populated by holy men, possibly druids.

In Rome, the castration of slaves is prohibited.

=== AD 84 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Possible date of the Battle of Mons Graupius (AD 83 or 84), in which Gnaeus Julius Agricola defeats the Caledonians.

Emperor Domitian recalls Agricola back to Rome, where he is rewarded with a triumph and the governorship of the Roman province Africa, but he declines it.

Pliny the Younger is sevir equitum Romanorum (commander of a cavalry squadron).

The construction of the Limes, a line of Roman fortifications from the Rhine to the Danube, is begun.

Through his election as consul for ten years and censor for life, Domitian openly subordinates the republican aspect of the state to the monarchical.

Domitian increases the troops' pay by one third, thus securing their loyalty.

====== Asia ======

Change from Jianchu to Yuanhe era of the Chinese Eastern Han Dynasty.

=== AD 85 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Dacians under Decebalus engage in two wars against the Romans from this year to AD 88 or 89.

Emperor Domitian repulses a Dacian invasion of Moesia.

Domitian appoints himself censor for life, which gives him the right to control the Senate. His totalitarian tendencies put the senatorial aristocracy firmly in opposition to him.

====== Asia ======

Baekje invades the outskirts of Silla in the Korean peninsula. The war continues till the peace treaty of 105.

=== AD 86 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Emperor Domitian introduces the Capitoline Games.

The Roman General Trajan, future emperor, begins a campaign to crush an uprising in Germany.

Germany is divided into two provinces, Upper Germany and Lower Germany.

====== Dacia ======

Roman legions face disaster in Dacia in the First Battle of Tapae, when Cornelius Fuscus, Praetorian prefect, launches a powerful offensive that becomes a failure. Encircled in the valley of Timi, he dies along with his entire army. Rome must pay tribute to the Dacians in exchange for a vague recognition of Rome's importance.

====== Asia ======

Ban Gu (Pan Kou) and his sister Ban Zhao (Pan Tchao) compose a History of China.

=== AD 87 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

The Roman Maternus arrives in Ethiopia.

Lyon, a city in Gaul, has a population of over 100,000.

Sextus gains power in the senate.

====== Europe ======

Decebalus becomes king of Dacia.

=== AD 88 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Two Egyptian obelisks are erected in Benevento in front of the Temple of Isis, in honour of emperor Domitian.

Quintilian retires from teaching and from pleading, to compose his great work on the training of the orator (Institutio Oratoria).

The First Dacian War ends: Decebalus becomes a client king of Rome, he receives money, craftsmen and war machines to protect the borders (Limes) of the Roman Empire.

====== Asia ======

Emperor Han Zhangdi dies at age 31 after a 13-year reign in which Chinese military forces have become powerful enough to march against tribes who threaten their northern and western borders. Having used intrigue as well as armed might to achieve his ends. Zhangdi and his General Ban Chao have reestablished Chinese influence in Inner Asia, but court eunuchs have increased their power during the emperor's reign. Zhangdi is succeeded by his 9-year-old son Zhao, who will reign until 105 as emperor Han Hedi, but he will be a virtual pawn of Empress Dou (adoptive mother) and scheming courtiers who will effectively rule the Chinese Empire.

Last year (4th) of yuanhe era and start of zhanghe era of the Chinese Eastern Han Dynasty.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Pope Clement I succeeds Pope Anacletus I as the fourth pope.

=== AD 89 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

1 January -- Lucius Antonius Saturninus incites a revolt against the Roman Emperor Domitian. It is suppressed by 24 January.

Legio XIII Gemina is transferred to Dacia to help in the war against Decebalus.

Aquincum (old Budapest, Óbuda) is founded.

====== Asia ======

First year of Yongyuan era of the Chinese Han Dynasty.

June – The Han Chinese army under Dou Xian (d. AD 92), allied with the southern Xiongnu, is victorious over the Northern Xiongnu in the Battle of Ikh Bayan.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Change of Patriarch of Constantinople from Polycarpus to Plutarch.

Publication in Syria or Phoenicia of the Gospel of Matthew by a converted Jewish scholar.

AD 80

AD 80 (LXXX) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Augustus and Domitianus (or, less frequently, year 833 Ab urbe condita). The denomination AD 80 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

Abbey Yard

Abbey Yard is a location in Dumfries and Galloway.

Abbey Yard is near Glenlochar in the historical county of Kirkcudbrightshire in the Dumfries and Galloway area. Long thought to have been the site an abbey it is the in fact the location of a Roman fort.

The fort was built in 81 AD by the Governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola and enclosed an area roughly 7 acres (28,000 m2). Abbey Yard is the local name for the area containing the fort remains; this reflects the incorrect identification on Ordnance Survey maps prior to the 1940s as the site of an abbey.

Agricola (book)

The Agricola (Latin: De vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae, lit. On the life and character of Julius Agricola) is a book by the Roman historian Tacitus, written c. AD 98, which recounts the life of his father-in-law Gnaeus Julius Agricola, an eminent Roman general and Governor of Britain from AD 77/78 – 83/84. It also covers, briefly, the geography and ethnography of ancient Britain. As in the Germania, Tacitus favorably contrasts the liberty of the native Britons to the corruption and tyranny of the Empire; the book also contains eloquent and forceful polemics against the rapacity and greed of Rome.

The text survived by chance in a single codex ascertained by Poggio Bracciolini to be in a German monastery (Hersfeld Abbey), and eventually secured by the humanist Niccolò de' Niccoli. Of that original, only part survives today, but several copies of the complete text were made in the 15th century.


According to Tacitus, Calgacus (sometimes Calgacos or Galgacus) was a chieftain of the Caledonian Confederacy who fought the Roman army of Gnaeus Julius Agricola at the Battle of Mons Graupius in northern Scotland in AD 83 or 84. His name can be interpreted as Celtic *calg-ac-os, "possessing a blade", and is seemingly related to the Gaelic "calgach". Whether the word is a name or a given title is unknown.


Domitia is the name of women from the gens Domitius of Ancient Rome. Women from the gens include:

Domitia, wife of Quintus Lutatius Catulus (consul 102 BC) and mother of Quintus Lutatius Catulus (Capitolinus) (consul 78 BC)

Domitia Lepida the Elder or Domitia Lepida Major, aunt of Emperor Nero

Domitia Lepida the Younger, sister of the following, mother of the Roman Empress Valeria Messalina

Domitia, eldest daughter of Roman general Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo and sister to Roman Empress Domitia Longina

Domitia Longina, wife of Roman Emperor Domitian

Domitia Decidiana, wife of Roman General Gnaeus Julius Agricola and mother-in-law to historian Tacitus

Domitia Lucilla, mother and maternal grandmother of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius

Domitia Paulina, Aelia Domitia Paulina, female relatives of Roman Emperor Hadrian

Domitia Faustina, a short-lived daughter of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius and Roman Empress Faustina the Younger

Saint Domitia, a saint of Orthodox Christianity

Domitia Decidiana

Domitia Decidiana was a Roman woman who lived in the 1st century. She was a well-connected woman of illustrious descent.

In 62 she married the Roman general Gnaeus Julius Agricola, who had just recently returned from service in Britain as a military tribune. She gave birth to a son, whose name is not known, in 63, and in 64 to a daughter, Julia Agricola. Not long after Julia's birth, the son died. Julia married the historian Tacitus in 78. Agricola and Domitia had another son in 83, who died within a year.

According to Tacitus, not only did Domitia and Agricola have a very happy marriage, Domitia's connections were useful to her husband's political career. She survived him when he died in 93, and was named as co-heir, along with Julia and the emperor Domitian, in his will.


Elginhaugh Roman Fort was a Roman fort of the 1st century AD, located in Midlothian, Scotland.

Elginhaugh is the most completely excavated timber-built auxiliary fort in the Roman Empire. The site of the Flavian (1st century) fort lies 1 km to the west of the modern town of Dalkeith, south-east of Edinburgh. The fort, discovered in 1979 by aerial reconnaissance, takes its name from the nearby hamlet of Elginhaugh. It was fully excavated, along with much of its large annexe, during 1986-87 by Dr William Hanson, now Professor of Roman Archaeology at the University of Glasgow in Scotland.The excavation confirmed the broad consistency of auxiliary fort plans (in terms of general layout and the identification of specific building types), but highlighted their individual uniqueness in relation to plan detail. Of particular importance, in relation to the traditional interpretation of fort plans, is the recognition that it was the norm to house horses and men together in stable-barracks, whose number and disposition indicate that the fort cannot have housed any single standard unit, and was probably occupied by a vexillation of cavalry.

Extensive examination of the annexe highlights the ancillary, probably military, character of the activities taking place there and emphasises, in contrast with the fort, substantive changes in use over a relatively short time-span.

The fort’s occupation is closely dated to c. AD 79-87 by associated coin evidence, including a foundation hoard from the principia. Thus, the site provides a very precise dating horizon for a wide range of associated artefactual material. Of particular importance is the evidence of the local manufacture of coarse pottery and indication that the garrison used hand-held artillery pieces. An extensive programme of environmental analysis provided insight into issues of local environment and food supply.

The primary role of the fort was probably to guard the nearby ford where Dere Street, a vitally important north-south Roman route, crossed the river North Esk, a tributary of the River Esk, Lothian. Thus it served as a garrison post (castellum) as part of the more permanent consolidation of Roman control in Scotland during and immediately after the campaigns of Gnaeus Julius Agricola. There is also unique evidence that the site continued to function as a collection centre for animals after the garrison had departed: the interior of the fort was cobbled over, two additional wells were dug and ditches inserted across the annexe to funnel livestock.

Flavian dynasty

The Flavian dynasty was a Roman imperial dynasty, which ruled the Roman Empire between 69 AD and 96 AD, encompassing the reigns of Vespasian (69–79), and his two sons Titus (79–81) and Domitian (81–96). The Flavians rose to power during the civil war of 69, known as the Year of the Four Emperors. After Galba and Otho died in quick succession, Vitellius became emperor in mid 69. His claim to the throne was quickly challenged by legions stationed in the Eastern provinces, who declared their commander Vespasian emperor in his place. The Second Battle of Bedriacum tilted the balance decisively in favour of the Flavian forces, who entered Rome on December 20. The following day, the Roman Senate officially declared Vespasian emperor of the Roman Empire, thus commencing the Flavian dynasty. Although the dynasty proved to be short-lived, several significant historic, economic and military events took place during their reign.

The reign of Titus was struck by multiple natural disasters, the most severe of which was the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79. The surrounding cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were completely buried under ash and lava. One year later, Rome was struck by fire and a plague. On the military front, the Flavian dynasty witnessed the siege and destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in 70, following the failed Jewish rebellion of 66. Substantial conquests were made in Great Britain under command of Gnaeus Julius Agricola between 77 and 83, while Domitian was unable to procure a decisive victory against King Decebalus in the war against the Dacians. In addition, the Empire strengthened its border defenses by expanding the fortifications along the Limes Germanicus.

The Flavians also initiated economic and cultural reforms. Under Vespasian, new taxes were devised to restore the Empire's finances, while Domitian revalued the Roman coinage by increasing its silver content. A massive building programme was enacted by Titus, to celebrate the ascent of the Flavian dynasty, leaving multiple enduring landmarks in the city of Rome, the most spectacular of which was the Flavian Amphitheatre, better known as the Colosseum.

Flavian rule came to an end on September 18, 96, when Domitian was assassinated. He was succeeded by the longtime Flavian supporter and advisor Marcus Cocceius Nerva, who founded the long-lived Nerva–Antonine dynasty.

The Flavian dynasty was unique among the four dynasties of the Principate Era, in that it was only one man and his two sons, without any extended or adopted family.


Glenlochar (Gd: Gleann Lochair) is a small hamlet on the western bank of the River Dee in the parish of Balmaghie in the historical county of Kirkcudbrightshire in Dumfries and Galloway. Glenlochar is located one and a half miles south of Balmaghie Kirk and 3 miles (5 km) north of Castle Douglas.

The Glenlochar Barrage on the River Dee is part of the Galloway Hydro Electric Scheme.The buried remains of a large Roman fort exist on the eastern bank of the River Dee, opposite Glenlochar. The fort was built in 81 AD by the Governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola and enclosed an area roughly 7 acres (2.8 ha). Abbey Yard is the local name for the area containing the fort remains; this reflects the incorrect identification on Ordnance Survey maps prior to the 1940s as the site of an abbey.During World War II Glenlochar was used as a training camp for the construction of Bailey bridges. The concrete slab foundations of the camp are still visible. An unexploded bomb shell was found at the site and a controlled explosion was conducted in 2002.Glenlochar has a small community centre and a car park that used to be a local school.

Glenlochar House is a late 18th/19th century Georgian house with its principal facade overlooking the River Dee.

Etymologically speaking, Glenlochar may be connected to the ancient name Loukopibía, and derived from the Brittonic -luch-, "marshy/brackish water" (Welsh llwch, Gaelic loch), or lǖch, "bright, shining", with the adjectival suffix -ar. The first part of the name is either Brittonic glïnn- (Welsh glyn) or Gaelic gleann, both meaning "a valley", anglicized as Scots glen.


Inchtuthil is the site of a Roman legionary fortress situated on a natural platform overlooking the north bank of the River Tay southwest of Blairgowrie, Perth and Kinross, Scotland (Roman Caledonia).

It was built in AD 82 or 83 as the advance headquarters for the forces of governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola in his campaign against the Caledonian tribes. Positioned at the head of one of the main routes in and out of the Scottish Highlands, it was occupied by Legion XX Valeria Victrix and covered a total area of 21.5 hectares (53 acres). Construction of the large fortress would have taken two or three seasons and a temporary camp was built nearby to house and protect the soldiers over the winter. Additional, smaller forts were built further north and south at the mouth of each nearby glen forming what are now referred to as the Glenblocker forts.

Woolliscroft and Hoffmann argued that the Glenblocker forts, as well as others in Strathmore, such as Cardean and Stracathro, formed a uniform system composed of several elements, the forts and watchtowers on the Roman road of the Gask Ridge, the Glenblockers and the Strathmore forts. Inchtuthil as the largest military base would have functioned as the lynch-pin and the only site large enough to launch an invasion into the Highlands and beyond.

Julia Agricola

Julia Agricola (born AD 64) was the daughter of Roman general Gnaeus Julius Agricola and Domitia Decidiana, a lady of illustrious birth. Shortly after her birth her elder brother, who was just a young child, died. She had another brother, born in 83, who also died in infancy.

In 78, at the age of fourteen, Julia married the historian and senator Publius Cornelius Tacitus. Tacitus would later go on to write a biography of his father-in-law.

She and her mother were still alive when her father died in 93. The date of Julia’s death is unknown.

List of governors of Roman Britain

This is a partial list of governors of Roman Britain from 43 to 409. As the unified province "Britannia", Roman Britain was a consular province, meaning that its governors had to first serve as a consul in Rome before they could govern it. While this rank could be obtained either as a suffect or ordinarius, a number of governors were consules ordinarii, and also appear in the List of Early Imperial Roman Consuls. After Roman Britain was divided, first into two (early 3rd century), then into four (293), later governors could be of the lower, equestrian rank.

Not all the governors are recorded by Roman historians and many listed here are derived from epigraphic evidence or from sources such as the Vindolanda letters. Beyond the recall of Gnaeus Julius Agricola in 85 the dates of service of those who can be named can only be inferred. Others are still entirely anonymous and by the time of the division of Britain into separate provinces, the record is very patchy.

Marcus Roscius Coelius

Marcus Roscius Coelius (or Caelius) was a Roman military officer of the 1st century AD. He was appointed suffect consul for the nundinium March-April AD 81 with Gaius Julius Juvenalis as his colleague.There is some uncertainty about his name. Tacitus calls him "Caelius", but the Acta Fratrum Arvalium calls him "Marcus Roscius Coelius". Anthony Birley suggests he may have had additional names, including "Murena"; he notes that there are several Roscii Murenae in the second century, "perhaps his descendants".Coelius was the legate of the Legio XX Valeria Victrix, stationed in Britain in 68 AD. He was on bad terms with the provincial governor, Marcus Trebellius Maximus, and took the opportunity during the turmoil of the year of four emperors to foment mutiny against him. Trebellius lost all authority with the army, which sided with Coelius, and fled to the protection of Vitellius in Germania. Coelius and his fellow legates briefly ruled the province until Vitellius, now emperor, sent Marcus Vettius Bolanus to be the new governor in late 69.The year of civil war ended when Vespasian took the Empire. In 71 he recalled Coelius, whose treacherous behaviour had been made known to him, and replaced him as commander of the XX Valeria Victrix with Gnaeus Julius Agricola. Coelius was appointed suffect consul in 81. Birley notes,"The fact that he did not achieve the fasces until four years after his successor as legionary legate suggests that his progress may have been a little impeded on account of his conduct in 69."


The Ordovices were one of the Celtic tribes living in Great Britain before the Roman invasion. Their tribal lands were located in present-day North Wales and England between the Silures to the south and the Deceangli to the north-east. The Ordovices were partially conquered by the Roman governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola in the campaign of AD 77–78.

The Celtic name *ordo-wik- could be cognate with the words for "hammer": Irish 'Ord', Welsh 'Gordd' (with a G- prothetic) and Breton 'Horzh' (with a H- prothetic).

The Ordovices farmed and kept sheep, and built fortified strongholds and hill forts. They were among the few British tribes that resisted the Roman invasion. The resistance was mainly organised by the Celtic leader Caratacus, exiled in their lands after the defeat of his tribe in the Battle of the Medway. Caratacus became the warlord of the Ordovices and neighbouring Silures, and a Roman public enemy in the 50s AD. Following the Battle of Caer Caradoc, where governor Publius Ostorius Scapula defeated Caratacus, the Ordovices were no longer a threat to Rome, probably due to heavy losses.

In the 70s, the Ordovices rebelled against Roman occupation and destroyed a cavalry squadron. This act of war provoked an equally strong response from Agricola, who, according to Tacitus, exterminated almost the whole tribe. No other mention of the tribe appears in the historical records, but in view of the mountainous terrain of the lands of the Ordovices, it is questionable whether Agricola could have wiped out the entire population.

The name of this tribe appears to be preserved in the place name Dinorwig ("Fort of the Ordovices") in North Wales.

The Ordovician geological period was first described by Charles Lapworth in 1879, based on rocks located in the lands of the Ordovices.

Sallustius Lucullus

Sallustius Lucullus was a governor of Roman Britain during the late 1st century, holding office after Gnaeus Julius Agricola, although it is unclear whether he was the immediate successor or if there was another unknown governor in between. Lucullus has been described as "an enigma", as the only definite fact known about him is Suetonius' report that the emperor Domitian had him executed for allowing a new type of lance to be named after him.Anything more about Lucullus is conjecture or inference: for example, since every other known governor of Roman Britain had been a consul prior to being appointed governor, it is reasonable to assume Lucullus also had been consul; since all of the consuls from the year 85 until past the death of Domitian are known, he must have been consul before the year 85. Again, although we do not know which year he was executed, Sheppard Frere wrote, "the most likely date for his execution is 89, and the most likely reason is that he was thought to be involved in the conspiracy of Saturninus, legate of Upper Germany which was suppressed that spring." However, Domitian is also known to have executed a number of Senators in the year 93 for a number of reasons, so that is also a likely date.

Titus Atilius Rufus

Titus Atilius Rufus (died AD 85) was a Roman senator, who held several appointments during the reigns of Nero, Vespasian and Domitian. He was suffect consul in some nundinium prior to the year 80. He is known primarily from inscriptions.

Rufus is known to have been governor of three provinces. The first province he is known to have administered was a public one, Creta et Cyrenaica; Werner Eck dated this governorship to the year 67. Then he was a suffect consul, for, to govern the next two provinces, he would have been required to serve as consul previously. He was assigned the imperial province of Pannonia, and Eck dates his tenure there from 79 to 82. Immediately afterwards Rufus was appointed to the imperial province of Syria, where Eck dates his governorship from 82 to 85. According to Tacitus, Rufus died while governor of Syria; Tacitus' father-in-law Gnaeus Julius Agricola was mentioned as a possible successor to Atilius Rufus, but Domitian never offered it to Agricola.Titus Atilius Rufus Titianus, the consul of 127, may be his son.

Tomen y Mur

Tomen y Mur is a Roman fort complex in Gwynedd, Wales. The fort was constructed under governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola in AD 78, and was abandoned around AD 140. A millennium later, in the Norman period, the site was reoccupied and refortified with a motte within the old walls. It is a scheduled monument in the care of Snowdonia National Park Authority.

Verulamium Forum inscription

The Verulamium Forum Inscription (tentatively dated to AD 79, during the reign of the emperor Titus) is one of the many Roman inscriptions in Britain. It is also known as the "Basilica inscription", as it is believed to have been attached to the basilica of Verulamium (on the edge of modern St Albans). The surviving fragments have been reconstructed as a large dedication slab (approx. 4.3m x 1.0m) on display at Verulamium Museum.

The fragments were found in 1955 during construction work in the yard of St Michael's School, St Albans. The find-spot lay near the north-east entrance to the forum and basilica of Verulamium.

The inscription is notable because it mentions Gnaeus Julius Agricola, the Roman governor of Britain from AD 77-84, who is otherwise known from a biography written by his son in law Tacitus.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.