A long op-ed piece in today's Herald about the Romans in Scotland, taking the BBC's new show, presented by Fraser Hunter and out tonight, called Scotland - Rome's Final Frontier as its jumping off point.
History isn't written by the victors. It's written by the literate. In this case, too, it was written by the victor's faither-in-law. Tacitus says the Caledonians were at first "too terrified" to molest Agricola's army. This was during their first incursions, three years before the battle in 84AD, and refers to armies marching unexpectedly into settlements.
However, a few pages on, he's berating those Roman "cowards", who "pleaded for a 'strategic retreat' behind the Forth, maintaining that 'evacuation was preferable to expulsion'." Who was "terrified" noo, then? Presumably, the Caledonians had organised.
As for Mons Graupius, no-one to this day has a clue where it is. Apparently, it featured 30,000 Caledonians – no, it didn't – and 11,000 Romans. According to Tacitus, the Caledonians lost 10,000 men, the Romans 360, probably quite coincidentally from natural causes.
These figures are bilge. Unless one side was unarmed, and the other had a neutron bomb, even the most Scotophobic booby couldn't make them add up. I've no doubt we got gubbed. Perhaps comprehensively.