"Roman legion on the move" by Denis Postle is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/?ref=openverse.

323 Years of Military Attacks

The Roman time in Scotland was a series of military attacks and brief occupation to reduce attacks in Roman England. No towns were built and the occupation was to protect the frontier. As in Germany and North Africa, the Romans built barriers and watchtowers to protect and control who entered the empire. A series of walls or fort lines were built – The Gask Ridge from Dunblane to Perth during Agricola’s invasion in 83AD, The Antonine Wall 142AD and Hadrians Wall 122AD and then again in 165AD

Large forts with squadrons of cavalry 500 to 1000 strong were established. Auxiliary troops from Spain and northern Belgium were deployed to Scotland. The Tungarians ( from the Netherlands) could cross rivers in formation in full battle armour and they were well suited to Scotlands geography.


Carlisle Roman Fort was Built along with some fortlets in the area.


Julius Agricola launched his campaign in the north in the AD 70’s. By both land and sea, it took only seven years for him to take control of much of Scotland. Some forts were built along what would later become the line of the Antonine Wall, while others were constructed along the Gask Ridge in Perthshire. He supported the emperor Vespasian in AD 69 when there were 4 emperors and gained his military command through that support.

83AD Julius Agricola invades Northern Scotland

84 AD Battle of Mons Graupius.

88 AD Inchtuthil fortress west of Blairgowrie is abandoned

98 AD Cornelius Tacitus first writes down his account of the Roman invasion by his father-in-law Agricola.

117AD Disturbances from Scotland require 3000 troops to be deployed from Germany and Spain. This includes elements of Legio VII Germanicus VIII Augusta, XXII Primigenia

122 AD Start of the construction of Hadrian’s Wall


Antonius Pius with permission of Daniel Voshart

Antonine Wall constructed on orders of Antoninus Pius. Cramond Fort was built.

AD152 Trouble erupts again with coins minted in 154 that show Britannia in mourning.

165 AD Antonine Wall was abandoned four years after the death of Antoninus Pius. Most troops return to Hadrian’s wall.

175AD Sarmatian heavy cavalry deployed to Ribchester in Lancashire.

182AD Maetae and Caledonians attack England moving south along Dere street and burning down Rudchester, Halton Chester and Corbridge. Attack repulsed by 184AD.

190AD Castlecary Fort on Antonine Wall was still garrisoned by elements of Legio VI Victrix.


Septimus Severus with permission of Daniel Voshart

Roman Emperor Septimius Severus launches the last campaign intended to conquer Scotland

211 AD Scotland abandoned again by the Romans after Septimius Severus dies in York.

286 to 296 The Carausian Revolt was an episode in Roman history, during which a Roman naval commander, Carausius, declared himself emperor over Britain and northern Gaul. His Gallic territories were retaken by the western Caesar Constantius Chlorus in 293, after which Carausius was assassinated by his subordinate Allectus. Britain was regained by Constantius and his subordinate Asclepiodotus in 296.


New Roman campaigns against the Caledonians. Constantius leads a military campaign in Scotland, reaching “the end of the land”. Constantius dies at York and his son, Constantine, is declared Emperor. Staying in York seemed to be bad luck for the emperors as Septimus Severus also died there.


Emperor Honorius withdraws legions and there are 500 years called the dark ages until the Normans invade in the 11th century.

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