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North Britain, or Caledonia, was invaded by the Romans about one hundred and thirty years after their arrival in England. Caledonia, in its most extensive acceptation, extended from the rivers Tweed and Eden on the south, to the extremity of Caithness on the north; but Caledonia Proper comprehended the countries of Stratherne, Argyll, Breadalbane, Atholl, and Perth. The name was probably derived from a great wood that covered the hills of these districts; and which is supposed to have begun a little north of Stirling, and, passing through Monteith and Stratherne, to have extended as far as Atholl on the one side and Lochaber on the other.

Agricola assumed the command of the Roman forces in Britain in the seventy-eighth year of the Christian æra; and, in two years after, entered Caledonia by marching along the Western coast. The Caledonians, at this period, were barbarous and ignorant, living in rude huts, and subsisting on prey and venison, the bark and roots of trees. They went entirely naked, and female chastity was unknown. They were divided into twenty-one distinct and independent tribes. In their persons they were robust, and very courageous in war; their infantry were distinguished for swiftness and agility; their armour consisted of a spear, a shield, and a short dagger; their cavalry, if it deserves the name, consisted of small, swift, and spirited horses. Like the South Britons, they sometimes used cars or chariots in battle. Inured to domestic war, the Caledonians were constitutionally brave; but the greatest efforts of their untutored valour proved unavailing when opposed to the superior discipline of the Romans and the consummate skill of their general.

According to the Roman historian Tacitus, Agricola, during his fourth campaign, explored and overran the mountainous region extending from the Solway to the Friths of Forth and Clyde. Having observed that the island is deeply indented by these, he drew a line of military stations across the isthmus, with the view of shutting up the hostile tribes of the North as in another island, Agricola, to secure the conquests he had made, employed himself, during the fifth campaign, in receiving the submission of the refractory tribes of the West, and establishing military posts among them.

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The Romans had hitherto contended with detached bodies of Caledonians, who were disunited by their policy, and hostile to each other from their predatory habits. Alarmed by a sense of their common danger, they formed a general confederacy, and so

lemnly ratified their union by sacrifices: They sent their wives and children into places of safety, and magnanimously resolved to defend their country.

Agricola had conveyed his army across the Forth by means of his gallies, and advanced as far as Lochleven, when one of his detachments was attacked and struck with terror, by the daring intrepidity of the enemy. But the advantage gained by such desultory efforts did not deter the Roman general from pursuing his operations with unabated vigour. He spent the winter in Fife, where, by means of his fleet, he maintained a communication with the garrisons in the South, and was plentifully supplied with provisions.


In the opening of the spring, he prepared to pursue the 84. S Caledonians to their retreat in the North, and strike a de cisive blow. He entered Strathmore through the opening of the Ochill Hills which forms Gleneagles, and passed between Blackford and Auchterarder, toward the Grampian Hills; where the Caledonians, to the number of thirty thousand, under the renowned Galgacus, were posted to receive him. A sanguinary engagement ensued; but the Roman discipline prevailed. The vanquished natives retired to the more distant recesses of their impervious country, and preserved their wild independence; for which they were not less indebted to their poverty than to their valour. They frequently made incursions, which were repelled and chastised; but they were never totally subdued. The masters of the fairest and most wealthy portions of the globe, turned with contempt from lakes covered with blue mist, and from bleak and dreary heaths, over which the deer of the forest were chased by a troop of naked barbarians.

Having obtained hostages from the conquered tribes, the victorious general retired into winter-quarters on the south of the friths. In order to discover whether Britain was an island or part of a continent, and probably with a view of intimidating the natives, he commanded his gallies to sail northward by the eastern shores. These orders were successfully executed. The mariners, venturing to explore an unknown and dangerous ocean, displayed the arms of Rome round every part of the island. It was Agricola's design to complete and insure his success by the reduction of Ireland, which might be improved into a valuable possession; and the Britons and Caledonians would wear their fetters with

less reluctance, if the prospect and example of freedom were on every side removed from before thier eyes.


This rational, though extensive scheme of conquest, was 85. rendered abortive by the removal of Agricola from the government of Britain. The fame of his exploits secretly excited the jealousy of his master Domitian; who recalled his faithful ser vant from the theatre of his conquests, on the plausible but in sincere pretence of honouring and promoting him. The general survived his misfortunes and disgrace but eight years, and died of disappointment,


Adrian visits Britain-erects the Picts' Wall. Lollius Urbicus builds the Northern Wall. Roman Causeways. Caledonians pass the Northern Wall-are repulsed. Severus conducts an army into Caledonia--his disasters. Peace. Death of Severus. Caracalla concludes peace. Policy of the Caledonians—their religion.

For thirty years after the recall of Agricola, the Roman historians are silent in regard to the affairs of Britain. The British and Caledonian tribes, deriving confidence from the inactivity of the Romans, and the absence of some of their legions during Adrian's wars with the Jews, were provoked to insurrection by the misgo vernment of the haughty Prætors.

A.D. 121.

The Emperor Adrian visited Britain in person, to correct the abuses of his deputies, and restore tranquillity. The better to secure the frontiers of the empire, he built a rampart between the Frith of Solway and the river Tyne. This fence, known by the name of the Picts' Wall, was upwards of seventy miles in length. It was twelve feet high, eight feet thick, and had a ditch in front. It has been erroneously supposed,from the erection of this wall, that Adrian meant to relinquish the conquests of Agricola in Caledonia: But the Emperor's policy was to provide a security against the attacks of the refractory tribes in the South, who could not be overawed or restrained by the military posts between the Friths of Forth and Clyde.

A.D. Upon the death of Adrian, the Emperor Antoninus as 138. S sumed the purple. He appointed as his lieutenant in Britain, Lollius Urbicus,-who possessed the qualifications of a ma gistrate as well as the abilities of a general. It was during the go

A.D. Įvernment of Urbicus that the second Roman Wall was 140. Serected, which extended from Carron on the Forth to Dunglass upon the Clyde. Its total length was sixty-three thousand nine hundred and eighty yards, its height twenty feet, and its thickness twenty-four feet. It was built of turf, on foundations of stone. A ditch forty feet wide and twenty in depth ran parallel to the wall on the north or outside; a broad well-paved military causeway, which was parallel to the wall on the south side, was constructed for the convenience of the soldiers, to form an easy communication between the military stations.

This stupendous rampart was defended by nineteen forts. At the eastern extremity, a small circular temple was erected, and dedicated, as is supposed, to the god Terminus. The wall was obviously intended to overawe the tribes that lived on the south side, as well as to repel the incursions of the Northern Caledonians. The same policy which suggested the expediency of erecting such a formidable barrier along the course of Agricola's military stations, suggested the necessity of constructing roads and fixing stations throughout the Roman territories in Britain.

One of the most striking monuments of the Roman power and laborious perseverance, was the construction of the extensive causeways, which, by traversing the conquered provinces, rendered the communication with every part easy and expeditious to the Roman soldiers, and supported their authority. The whole extent of territory that lay between the Walls of Adrian and Antoninus, was everywhere intersected by Roman roads. But it is doubtful whether the country between the Northern Wall and the Murray Frith was formally erected into a Roman province; though it was traversed by roads of communication and overawed by military stations.



Lollius Urbicus was removed from the government 161. S of Britain in consequence of the death of Antoninus Pius. So effectually had the Caledonians been restrained by his vigorous but beneficent policy, that, during his administration, and for several years after his removal, no insurrections took place. But the natives, impatient of restraint, began to manifest a disposition to revolt. Calphurnius Agricola being sent into Britain, enforced submission and restored tranquillity. The Romans, finding their conquests in Caledonia neither useful nor agreeable, were disposed to contract the limits of the empire;

and, during the reign of the Emperor Aurelian, their troops evacuated the military stations beyond the Wall of Antoninus.



Eager to recover unrestrained liberty, and thirsting for revenge, the Caledonians, during the misrule of the Emperor Commodus, passed the Northern Wall and ravaged the open country: But being attacked by Marcellus, the governor of South Britain, they hastily retraced their steps and retired to the mountains. In repelling these predatory incursions, the Romans derived neither advantage nor glory: They therefore concluded a treaty with their turbulent neighbours, in the beginning of the reign of the Emperor Severus; but as the treaty was dictated by the necessities of the hostile parties, it was broken as soon as either side could renew hostilities with the probability of success.


Peace continued only seven years. Severus was not displeased at the renewal of the war, which he determined to conduct in person. Notwithstanding his advanced age, and his bodily infirmities, which obliged him to be transported in a litter, he set out for Britain, attended by his two sons, his whole court, and à formidable army. Upon his arrival, he repaired or re209. S built the Wall of Adrian, which had become ruinous by neglect and decay, in order to protect his retreat in case of accidents. He speedily passed the Northern Wall, and penetrated into the country of the Caledonians, without meeting an enemy: But the coldness of the climate, and the severity of a winter march across the hills and morasses of North Britain, and proba-bly the neglect of obtaining regular supplies by means of his fleet, are reported to have cost the Romans fifty thousand men.

Unable to oppose the obstinate attack of the Romans, the fugitive Caledonians were compelled to sue for peace, to surrender a part of their arms and a considerable portion of their territory. The Emperor then retired beyond the Wall of Adrian. His achievements in Caledonia procured him at Rome the title of Imperator.

No sooner had he retired, than the untractable barbarians, regardless of the obligation of a treaty, renewed hostilities. Their restless spirit so provoked Severus, that he sent another army into their country, under his son Caracalla, with orders to extirpate them. But Caracalla had other objects in view: Being deeply engaged in criminal designs against his father and his bro

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