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Anonymous

Why did the Romans not conquer Scotland? For all the effort put into building walls, forts etc and beating them back whenever they got restless... Why not just finish the job and conquer the Caledonii/Picts? I understand that the Picts guerrilla tactics and terrain would have made it hard but surely they faced these problems in other countries? <p></p><i></i>
What's the point? They hadn't even invented golf or whiskey, yet! All seriousness aside, it was probably more a political decision than anything else. The original Legio XX had built a fortress named Victoria up at Inchtuthil in the highlands, but before they even finished all the interior buildings, Domitian was murdered and his successor decided not to keep an occupying force there. So the troops dismantled the place and moved back to Wales. They must have been SERIOUSLY annoyed...<br>
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There were at least a couple successful invasions of Caledonia/Scotland, so it wasn't by any means impossible militarily. The locals weren't any better at "guerilla" warfare than any other tribal people, but the Romans could do that quite well if necessary.<br>
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I don't know enough about the debates on Roman "grand strategy", but it looks to me like there just wasn't enough interest in spending the manpower on a marginal, hostile area. Easier just to wall them off and collect tolls on any legitimate merchant traffic. Obviously the policy vacillated a bit!<br>
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Vale,<br>
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Matthew/Quintus, Legio XX <p></p><i></i>
Hi Matthew<br>
I think your closing remarks hit home. There was nothing up there in Scotland worth the effort to stay. The romans left not because the scots were a military problem but because there was evidently not enough that could be made from that northern area, that was after all an island! I don't think it is necessary to invoke some grand-stragtegic capabilities to imagine the romans perfectly capable of concluding that scotland was a waste of time and effort.<br>
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I have said this before but I personally think this type of evaluation is also the reason they left Germany after 20 years of occupation. The unpredicted Varus disaster and the near-defeat second by Arminius a few years later made it painfully clear that the by-far-more dangerous Germany was beyond Rome's capabilities. Not so much in terms of military capability at the tactical level, but at the consolidationlevel. The investment to consolidate Germany would have been huge and for some time completely unsure as the romans discovered the hardest way possible. The germans had no cities or strongholds that once taken could be the basis for a control of the territory. How many setbacks, if not painful defeats, would it have taken to obtain WHAT? Slaves ok, but anything else? Forests, bogs, more forests and all kinds of unrest. Maybe in the distant future one could have imagined obtaining metal, wood, amber, various products. But to develop the land from scratch you some form of control. But to control you need some handle to grab onto, i.e. a minimum of development. A viscous circle! They wisely pulled out.<br>
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Anonymous

Thanks guys!<br>
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I assume you are telling me that it was far easier to build two seven foot high walls the length of the country with manned barracks and forts than it was to hunt out the wide spread small settlements in Scotland and dissolve the armies strength throughout the country.<br>
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I find it hard to believe there was no trade in Scotland or wealth to be taxed as there have been many findings north of the wall of hordes (St Ninians, Traprain Law etc) and plenty of evidence of trading...Even if it some of this was gained through the Romans... But then why would they use bribes or trade with a people they could conquer so easily anyway? <p></p><i></i>
I assume you are referring to <em>Caledonia</em>?<br>
Alba is a modern Gaelic word for a nation wich did not exist in Roman times. <p></p><i></i>
Quote:</em></strong><hr>I find it hard to believe there was no trade in Scotland <hr><br>
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this article may be of interest to you<br>
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[url=http://www.morgue.demon.co.uk/Pages/Gask/Pages/Introduction/Why_failure.html" target="top]MORE THOUGHTS ON WHY THE ROMANS FAILED TO CONQUER SCOTLAND[/url]<br>
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and also [url=http://p208.ezboard.com/ftalkinghistoryfrm14.showMessage?topicID=221.topic" target="top]this thread[/url] on Talking History forum <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p200.ezboard.com/bromanarmytalk.showUserPublicProfile?gid=venicone>venicone</A> at: 6/8/04 6:37 pm<br></i>

Anonymous

What a gem of a link! Brilliantly written, extremely interesting and very thought provoking!<br>
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Have not read all of the forum link as yet but it looks like we were asking the same questions so it should make for an interesting read when I have more time.<br>
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many thanks Venicone <p></p><i></i>
This looks like more or less the argument stated by defense analyst Edward Luttwak in 1976.<br>
He proposed four conditions for successful annexation:<br>
(1) "the frontier must facilitate strategic transit between the continental regions of the empire" (this is less relavent for Caledonia)<br>
(2) "it should <em>not</em> include areas inherently difficult to settle, urbanize, and Romanize (such as Scotland)" (so Luttwak explicitly mentions Caledonia)<br>
(3) "it <em>should</em> include lands suited for settlement, lands that would enhance the strength of the empire in men and resources"<br>
(4) "the frontier should be as short as possible, in order to reduce the manpower required for outposts and patrols" (and it is well known that the Antoninus wall crosses the shortest point in Britain). <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

Well, checking on a modern map of today's Scotland, it looks like the Romans took a big chunk of it, namely the lowlands (Ayrshire and Arran, Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish borders, Edinburgh and Lothians, Greater Glasgow and Clyde Valley Central) , leaving the highlands to the Caledonians and the Picts.<br>
As far as I remember, but I may be wrong, the Scots came from Ireland later. <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p200.ezboard.com/[email protected]narmytalk>Antoninus Lucretius</A> <IMG HEIGHT=10 WIDTH=10 SRC="http://lucretius.homestead.com/files/Cesar_triste.jpg" BORDER=0> at: 6/10/04 2:00 pm<br></i>

Anonymous

nope you are correct the scotti came from ireland a tad later <p><img src="http://homepage.ntlworld.com/mark.martin/forum/mark.gif
" width="100" height="100" align="right">
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Quote:</em></strong><hr>it looks like the Romans took a big chunk of it, namely the lowlands.<hr><br>
But only for a short time. <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

Hehe, my ancestors kicked the Roman's butts.<br>
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Nay, to be serious, the name Campbell (Cambeul) is first mentioned in sources from the 13th century. But Argyll was a Dálriatan (= Scoti from Ireland) settlement already around 500 AD, and Cinaéd Mac Alpín, the king who united the Dálriatan and Pictish kingdoms (to simplify a complicated matter) came from that line, or claimed to come from it.<br>
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It is a standig joke among my friends that I have Pictish and Dálriatan Scottish blood, plus a nice input of Obodrite blood (a Slavic tribe conquered by Henry Duke of Saxony around 1165), and that's the reason why I'm such a weird person. <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p200.ezboard.com/bromanarmytalk.showUserPublicProfile?gid=gabrielecampbell>gabriele campbell</A> at: 7/18/04 9:19 am<br></i>