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Background to Vederius Ligustus

Vederius Ligustsus: c.64-c.143 AD Born in Spain. Father a merchant, mother from Belgic Gaul. Lived most of his life in Herculaneum. Family killed in the eruption of Vesuvius 79 AD. Holds the gods in contempt for this, only worships the Roman god of vengeance (Mars Ultor). Ran away to Sri Lanka (Taprobane). Returned and joined the army. Started as a private soldier (Munifex), promoted to scout on pay and a half (Caligatus sesquiplicarius of the Speculatores), promoted to soldier on double pay (Caligatus Duplicarius), promoted to watch commander (Tesserarius), promoted to acting standard bearer (Signifier). Decorated with a civic crown (Corona Civica) and a grass crown (Corona Obsidionalis) – the highest award. Named as hero of Bodotria by General Agricola. Becomes Regional Centurion of the Ninth Legion the “fighting Spanish” at Eburacum – ancient York. He is summonsed back to Italy where Trajan promotes him to First Spear (Primus Pilus) Centurion of the Thirtieth Ulpian Legion, third most senior officer and top soldier in his family’s Legion at the start of the second century AD and gives him a secret mission. Capable of great brutality he’s the servant of a code of honour based on brotherhood, virtue and glory and sees himself as the father of a military family that he deeply care for. He’ll take any step necessary, including deception and murder to ensure orders are obeyed and virtue is maintained and his god is worshiped.

The Dacian war:

The Dacian Wars (101–102, 105–106) were two military campaigns fought between the Roman Empire and Dacia during Roman Emperor Trajan's rule. The conflicts were triggered by the constant Dacian threat on the Danubian Roman Provinces of Moesia and Pannonia and also by the increasing need for resources for the economy of the Roman Empire. Setttings: Vederius’s journey from Eburacum to Dacia Trajan’s Bridge across the Danube, site of Dacian attack Advance of Trajan’s armies into Dacia Battle for Piatra Cetatii

FINDING THE DIARIES OF VEDERIUS LIGUSTUS

The diaries were discovered in the small cave at the

back of this photo

Historical note in relation to North of

Bodotria

What is history? Ask a group of friends to

describe their holiday together last year -

there would be several versions, so how on

earth can we know what happened nearly

2,000 years ago?

I have sided with the Roman Gask Project’s

critical appraisal that Tacitus’s On the Life and

Times of Julius Agricola was not a detailed

historical account but a document written for

other purposes at the end of Domitian’s reign.

In essence, it’s a great story, written as an

hommage to Julius Caeser’s Commentaries,

but the provenance of the document and the

archaeology on the ground doesn’t support a

notion of historical accuracy and Calgacus was

a figment of Tacitus’s imagination.

For my story I have used Roman Scotland’s

excellent analysis of possible sites for the

battle of Mons Graupius and settled for the

‘Dunning alternative’ scenario. However, I have

come to the view that Mons Graupius did not

actually happen, or if it did, at best it was a

minor skirmish, as attested to by the

behaviour of Agricola’s army following the

battle. The numbers of deaths described are

reminiscent of the US ‘body counts’ in Vietnam

– hopelessly optimistic, if not a downright

fabrication.

It is unlikely any guerrilla force familiar with

the Roman army would engage them in open

battle. It is speculation on my part to infer the

tactics of the Caledonii from the battle of Dun

Nechtain in 685 but there is some evidence to

suggest weapons and tactics didn’t change

much over this period. At Dun Nechtain the

Picts used their local knowledge to choose an

advantageous place to engage with the

invading Angles. The Picts, situated on a hill,

engaged the enemy in battle, gradually

allowing their force to be pushed back before

they broke rank and pretended to flee from

the battlefield. As they ran they drew the

chasing Angles into a swamp where the Picts

sprang an ambush.

Jonathan Fear

The Gask Project: Tacitus

Site of Mons Graupius

Dun Nechtain

Bibliography:

Adkins L, Adkins RA. Handbook to Life in

Ancient Rome. Oxford University Press, 1998

Callander JG. Notes on the Roman Remains at

Grassy Walls and Bertha near Perth.

Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of

Scotland 1919; 5:137–52

Cowan R. Roman Battle Tactics 109BC –

AD313. Osprey, 2007

Goldsworthy A. The Complete Roman Army.

Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2003

Jones HR. Roman Camps in Britain. Amberley

Publishing, 2012

Roth JP. The Logistics of the Roman Army at

War (264 B.C. – A.D.235). Brill, 2012

Townshend K B. The Agricola and Germania of

Tacitus. Methuen & Co. London, 1894

(accessed November 2009)

Woolliscroft D, Hoffmann B. Rome’s First

Frontier: the Flavian Occupation of Northern

Scotland. The History Press, 2006

Vederius’s Journey from Eburacum to Sarmitzegetusa (interactive map)

Vederius’s Journey from Toprobane to Bodotria (interactive map)

Site of Battle of Mons Graupius (interactive map)

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Background to Vederius Ligustus

Vederius Ligustsus: c.64-c.143 AD Born in Spain. Father a merchant, mother from Belgic Gaul. Lived most of his life in Herculaneum. Family killed in the eruption of Vesuvius 79 AD. Holds the gods in contempt for this, only worships the Roman god of vengeance (Mars Ultor). Ran away to Sri Lanka (Taprobane). Returned and joined the army. Started as a private soldier (Munifex), promoted to scout on pay and a half (Caligatus sesquiplicarius of the Speculatores), promoted to soldier on double pay (Caligatus Duplicarius), promoted to watch commander (Tesserarius), promoted to acting standard bearer (Signifier). Decorated with a civic crown (Corona Civica) and a grass crown (Corona Obsidionalis) – the highest award. Named as hero of Bodotria by General Agricola. Becomes Regional Centurion of the Ninth Legion the “fighting Spanish” at Eburacum – ancient York. He is summonsed back to Italy where Trajan promotes him to First Spear (Primus Pilus) Centurion of the Thirtieth Ulpian Legion, third most senior officer and top soldier in his family’s Legion at the start of the second century AD and gives him a secret mission. Capable of great brutality he’s the servant of a code of honour based on brotherhood, virtue and glory and sees himself as the father of a military family that he deeply care for. He’ll take any step necessary, including deception and murder to ensure orders are obeyed and virtue is maintained and his god is worshiped.

The Dacian war:

The Dacian Wars (101–102, 105–106) were two military campaigns fought between the Roman Empire and Dacia during Roman Emperor Trajan's rule. The conflicts were triggered by the constant Dacian threat on the Danubian Roman Provinces of Moesia and Pannonia and also by the increasing need for resources for the economy of the Roman Empire. Setttings: Vederius’s journey from Eburacum to Dacia Trajan’s Bridge across the Danube, site of Dacian attack Advance of Trajan’s armies into Dacia Battle for Piatra Cetatii

FINDING THE DIARIES OF VEDERIUS LIGUSTUS

The diaries were discovered in the small cave at the back of this

photo

Historical note in relation to North of Bodotria

What is history? Ask a group of friends to describe their

holiday together last year - there would be several

versions, so how on earth can we know what happened

nearly 2,000 years ago?

I have sided with the Roman Gask Project’s critical

appraisal that Tacitus’s On the Life and Times of Julius

Agricola was not a detailed historical account but a

document written for other purposes at the end of

Domitian’s reign. In essence, it’s a great story, written as

an hommage to Julius Caeser’s Commentaries, but the

provenance of the document and the archaeology on the

ground doesn’t support a notion of historical accuracy

and Calgacus was a figment of Tacitus’s imagination.

For my story I have used Roman Scotland’s excellent

analysis of possible sites for the battle of Mons Graupius

and settled for the ‘Dunning alternative’ scenario.

However, I have come to the view that Mons Graupius

did not actually happen, or if it did, at best it was a minor

skirmish, as attested to by the behaviour of Agricola’s

army following the battle. The numbers of deaths

described are reminiscent of the US ‘body counts’ in

Vietnam – hopelessly optimistic, if not a downright

fabrication.

It is unlikely any guerrilla force familiar with the Roman

army would engage them in open battle. It is speculation

on my part to infer the tactics of the Caledonii from the

battle of Dun Nechtain in 685 but there is some evidence

to suggest weapons and tactics didn’t change much over

this period. At Dun Nechtain the Picts used their local

knowledge to choose an advantageous place to engage

with the invading Angles. The Picts, situated on a hill,

engaged the enemy in battle, gradually allowing their

force to be pushed back before they broke rank and

pretended to flee from the battlefield. As they ran they

drew the chasing Angles into a swamp where the Picts

sprang an ambush.

Jonathan Fear

The Gask Project: Tacitus

Site of Mons Graupius

Dun Nechtain

Bibliography:

Adkins L, Adkins RA. Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome.

Oxford University Press, 1998

Callander JG. Notes on the Roman Remains at Grassy

Walls and Bertha near Perth. Proceedings of the Society

of Antiquaries of Scotland 1919; 5:137–52

Cowan R. Roman Battle Tactics 109BC – AD313. Osprey,

2007

Goldsworthy A. The Complete Roman Army. Thames &

Hudson Ltd, 2003

Jones HR. Roman Camps in Britain. Amberley Publishing,

2012

Roth JP. The Logistics of the Roman Army at War (264 B.C.

– A.D.235). Brill, 2012

Townshend K B. The Agricola and Germania of Tacitus.

Methuen & Co. London, 1894 (accessed November 2009)

Woolliscroft D, Hoffmann B. Rome’s First Frontier: the

Flavian Occupation of Northern Scotland. The History

Press, 2006

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