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The Last Frontier The Roman Invasions of Scotland by Antony Kamm

The Last Frontier The Roman Invasions of Scotland


The Last Frontier The Roman Invasions of Scotland by Antony Kamm

The lands in the north of Britain in what we now called Scotland, then occupied by Celtic settlers, never became part of the Roman empire, in spite of being invaded several times. The northernmost frontier of the empire was fortified for only a few years after the battle of Mons Graupius in AD 84, when the Caledonians were defeated by Gnaeus Julius Agricola. Work on the construction of an alternative frontier, represented by the elaborate defenses of the Antonine Wall, began in about 142. It was maintained hardly longer than 25 years, and by 180 the Roman invaders had retreated back to Hadrian's Wall. After further Celtic activity, a temporary truce was negotiated personally by the emperor Septimus Severus in 209. Thereafter, until their empire began to collapse, the Romans maintained a fragile hold on Hadrian's Wall in the face of furious attacks by marauding Picts and Scotti (Scots), and a combined operation by land and sea in 367 against the whole of Roman Britain by the northern Celts in an alliance with the Franks and Saxons. The Last Frontier is a fresh account of these momentous events and the background to them, based on a reassessment of the original sources and on recent archaeological evidence. Extracts from Latin texts, including Tacitus, who wrote a biography of Agricola, are in new translations. The author also sets the involvement of Rome in the context of the development of Scotland from prehistoric times to nationhood.


As accessible as it is scholarly. Properly set in the context of events elsewhere in the empire, it provides a straightforward account of this early episode in Scotland's story ... Mr Kamm informs and entertains in equal measure. Tom Kyle, the Scottish Daily Mail His writing is clear and precise ... The author makes an excellent job of explaining and, where necessary, simplifying the tangled web of what we know, or think we know, about Roman activities between the walls and weaves this tale into the bigger picture as seen from Rome ... All is told in 175 enthralling pages. Ian Keillar in History Scotland

About the Author

Antony Kamm read classics and English at Oxford University and is a former lecturer in publishing studies at Stirling University. His publications include The Romans: An Introduction (second edition 2008), The Israelites: An Introduction (1999), Julius Caesar: A Life (2006), and other books on historical and Scottish topics, for children as well as adults.

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Book Info

Publication date

21st May 2009


Antony Kamm

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Neil Wilson Publishing


208 pages


Ancient history: to c 500 CE
European history



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