The name Mons Graupius is given to a battle fought between the Romans and Caledonians in 83 CE. The actual site has not yet been found, with the Roman historian, Tacitus, stating that it was fought at ‘Mons Graupius’ (in modern Scotland). Tacitus is thought to have exaggerated the Romans’ success. He claimed that when the 11,000-strong Roman infantry and cavalry arrived at Mons Graupius, they found the site occupied by 30,000 Caledonian confederacies, led by Calgacus. Nothing else is known about Calgacus except a moving speech, filled with proto-nationalist sentiment, in which he described the Romans as tyrannical plunderers and enslavers, a ‘rag-bag force’ who could be countered and conquered.Yet Gnaeus Agricola’s more organized Roman infantry and cavalry defeated the Caledonians, who lost many men. In the first assault their chariots were dispersed; finally, after a second phase attack on their flanks, they were forced to retreat to the woods.
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