Celt and Roman Influence (600 BC to 363 AD)

•     600 BC    Celts arrive in Britain.1

•     600 BC    Iron Age starts2

•     200 BC    Broch-building starts around 200 BC and ends by 200 AD3

•     55 BC       Julius Caesar begins his first expedition to Britain.4

•     43 AD       Emperor Claudius invades Britain.5  The territory immediately below the present border between England and Scotland belonged to the Brigantes, one of the more numerous of the ancient British tribes. In the area above this, marked by the Tynes-Tees line in the south and the Forth-Clyde isthmus in the north, lived four groupings: the Votadini in the east, the Novantae in the west, in the present Dumfries and Galloway Region, and the Selgovae between the two, controlling a large swathe of Southern Scotland from Eskdale to the Forth, with the Eildon Hills as their headquarters. The territory of the Damnonii included most of the triangle of land between the Forth-Clyde and Highland lines. Above this stretched the vast mountainous domain of the Calcedonians, the Epidii, the Maetae and other Highland tribes.6

•     43 AD       The Kings of the Orkneys seem to have sent Ambassadors to Claudius at the time of the conquest of Britain.7

•     50 AD       Broch of Gurness is in early stages of development.8

•     72 AD       The Romans advance into Scotland. It took a decade to reach the Forth-Clyde line where Agricola establishes a series of forts before advancing northward. Agricola built marching camps on Strathmore, and what were to be permanent forts at Strathcathro and Inchtuthil, Perthshire.9

•     78 AD       Agricola visits Orkney10. The name Orkney has Celtic Roots. It may suggest a tribe with a boar or young pig as its totem. The name was used by Irish historians in early writings and is used in a first century account by Dioderus Siculus. Tacticus used the name when he wrote about Agricola’s visit around 80 AD. Ptolomy uses the name on his maps.11

•     81 AD       Agricola begins his expedition into Calcidonia.12

•     84 AD       Mons Graupius: The Roman Governor Agricola defeated the Caledonians including the Taexali Tribe of Aberdeenshire. The battle may also have been fought near the Iron Age fort of Bennachie in Aberdeenshire-not far away from13

•     86 AD        Problems on the Danube result because Roman troops being pulled out of Britain and the fort at Inchtuthil, Perthshire is dismantled. Subsequently the north is left to its own devises.14

•     105 AD     As a result of a campaign to take over abandoned Roman forts and attack those still occupied, by about 105 AD the Romans had been pushed back to the line of the road known as Stanegate, running from Tyne to Solway Firth.15

•     122 AD     Work begins of Hadrian’s Wall.16

•     138 AD     Governor Lollius Urbius marched north in strength from the wall, seeking to reoccupy in the name of the Emperor, Antonius Pius, the territory lost to Rome 40 years earlier. Within seven17 years he had succeeded in restoring Roman power in most of the areas once occupied by Agricola.18

•     142 AD      The Antonine Wall was built by Antonius Pius across the Forth-Clyde line. It was 40 Roman miles long. It cut off the ancestral Picts from the south. The Wall was held until soon after the death of Pius in 161 AD.19 Construction may have continued till 80 AD20

•     155-200 AD    Romans retreat from Scotland.21

•     180 AD      Picts crossed the wall that separated them from the Roman Forts and did considerable damage cutting down a general and his troops according to Cassius Dio. At the end of the century the Northern tribes were bought off, but it did not buy peace for long.22 Dio Cassius in Dio’s Roman History wrote there were two main races north of the Antonine Wall, the Maeatae who lived close to the wall and the Caledonians beyond them to the north.23

•     208 AD      Septimius Serverus leads a punitive expedition into Pictland.24 He came with his sons Caracalla and Geta as the result of a request by the Governor of Britain to the Roman Emperor. Serverus died in York of illness in 211. His son Caracalla abandoned conquest of the north and left for Rome to take up his destiny as emperor. Shortly thereafter Hadrian’s Wall became the frontier of the province.2526

•     208 AD      Ptolemy, the Greek geographer, mentions four tribes inhabiting the country between the Firth of Forth and Moray Firth: the Caledonii, Vacomagi, Taezali and Venicones.27

•     210 AD      The British result once again. This leads to a second punitive campaign of particular ferocity in which Serverus’ son, Caracella was ordered to slaughter every Briton his army came across. As a result Caracella imposed terms upon the Caledonians and Maetae, these two tribes having absorbed all the lesser groups. As a result Roman and North Briton co-existed in relative harmony for almost a century.28

•     214 AD      Romans abandon Scotland29

•     250 AD      First Christians arrive in Scotland.30

•     296 AD      When Roman troops withdrew to the South to fight Allectus, the Northern Tribes hastily assemble their troops and raid deep into the undefended imperial province, reaching the great stronghold in Chester.31

•     297 AD       First reference to ‘Picti’ appears in 297 AD by the poet Eumenius. The Picts were not a new element in the population; ‘Picts’ (‘picti’-painted ones) was simply the Roman nickname for the tribal descendants of the indigenous Iron Age tribes of northern Scotland.32

•     305-6 AD   Constantius Chlorus campaigned against the ‘Calcedonians and other Picts’. In 315 Constantine the Great assumed the title of ‘Britannicus Maximus’, perhaps bestowed on him because of his successful campaigns in the north.33

•     300+?         Caipre Riata led a wave of colonization in Scotland 10 generations before Fergus son of Eric according to a legend from Ireland. Bede reports a certain Reuda (Riata?) colonized Argyll34

•     342 AD       Northerners attacked again, destroying all forts above and drawing the Emperor Constans across the channel to deal personally with the situation35

•     343 AD       Emperor Constans, son of Constantine the Great, campaigned against the Picts, and a people called the Areani (or Arcani), who seem to have served as spies for the north.36

•     360 AD       Picts now allied with the Scots of Ireland, harried the frontier areas and appear to have been driven back.37


  1. 600 BC-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 181. 

  2. 600 BC-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 693. 

  3. 200 BC-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 693. 

  4. 55 BC-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 181. 

  5. 43 BC-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 181. 

  6. 43 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 86. 

  7. 43 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 7. 

  8. 50 AD-A Timeline of Early Orcadian History, www.orkneyjar.com/history/timeline.htm, 6/18/01. 

  9. 72 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 8. 

  10. 78 AD-A Timeline of Early Orcadian History, www.orkneyjar.com/history/timeline.htm, 6/18/01. 

  11. 78 AD-Orkney, A Historical Guide, © Caroline Wickham Jones,1998, page 99. 

  12. 81 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 181. 

  13. 84 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 8. 

  14. 86 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 8. 

  15. 105 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 94. 

  16. 122 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 181. 

  17. 138 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995. 

  18. 138 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 98. 

  19. 142 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, pages 8-9. 

  20. 142 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 693. 

  21. 155-200 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 182. 

  22. 180 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 9. 

  23. 180 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 29. 

  24. 208 AD-Famous Scottish Battles, by Philip Warner, Barnes & Noble Books, 1975, 1996, pages 22-23. 

  25. 208 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 9. 

  26. Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 102. 

  27. 208 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 29. 

  28. 210 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, pages 99-101. 

  29. 214 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 693. 

  30. 250 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 182. 

  31. 296 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 109. 

  32. 297 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, pages 24, 693. 

  33. 305-6 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 9. 

  34. 300+ AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 39. 

  35. 342 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 109. 

  36. 343 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 9. 

  37. 360 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 9.