Was Asterix the Gaul really a Pict? – leader comment

Have we given too much credit to the Romans account of why they did not conquer Scotland?

The carved stone depicts how the Roman invaders lived with the natives near the Antonine Wall

“What did the Romans ever do for us?” Considerably less than they did for other parts of Europe because while they came to visit Scotland they didn’t stick around. Instead, they built not one but two enormous walls.

However, these walls were not to hide behind because they were defeated in battle. The very thought!

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No, according to the Romans, they won a great victory at the Battle of Mons Graupius in about AD84, then just decided it was a bit cold or had too many trees or, er, something.

The Romans placed carved ‘distance stones’ along the Antonine Wall that, according to one archaeologist, were part of the Empire’s “propaganda artillery”.

But now a new stone, carved with Pictish images, including one of the Deskford Carnyx, a trumpet-like instrument said to have roused the locals’ fighting spirit, has been placed on the wall in a bid to “flip the narrative” of the invaders.

We’re no historians, but might it just be that a great Pictish victory or a superb guerrilla campaign was written out of history? Or that Asterix the Gaul was actually Asterix the Pict?

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Why couldn’t the Romans hold and conquer Scotland?

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