FANDOM


The Eagle of the Ninth
EagleNinth
First edition cover

Publication

1954

Length

Novel

Audience

Young adult

Historical era

Roman

Adaptation

The Eagle of the Ninth, BBC 1977 The Eagle (2011 film)

Series

The Dolphin Ring

Next →

The Silver Branch

The Eagle of the Ninth is a novel for children first published in 1954 by Oxford University Press. It is the first of Rosemary Sutcliff's Roman Britain stories and the first of eight novels loosely connected by an heirloom signet ring.

The Eagle of the Ninth was Sutcliff's breakout novel and remains her best-known work. It was adapted for radio by the BBC programme Children's Hour shortly after publication, then into a BBC television miniseries in the 1970s. In 2011 it was loosely adapted into the film The Eagle.

PlotEdit

Marcus Flavius Aquila, orphaned son of the senior centurion of the lost Ninth Legion, commands the replacement garrison of auxiliaries at Isca Dumnoniorum, a frontier fort in the far west of Britain. The departing commander advises him to watch out for stray Druids, who are capable of whipping up revolt among the local tribes (1). Marcus settles into the routine of Isca Dumnoniorum, getting to know his officers and a young local hunting guide named Cradoc, who challenges him to a test of chariot-driving and judges him fairly good. Yet Cradoc's wife Guinhumara is oddly guarded, and there are rumours of a Druid in the neighbourhood, worsening Marcus's concerns over a poor harvest (2). Two nights later, the fort is attacked in the predawn by the Dumnonii, led by a Druid. Marcus leads a small force out to escort a returning patrol and is attacked by Cradoc in his chariot, which Marcus sacrifices himself to crash (3). Marcus survives and a Relief Force saves the fort; Cradoc is killed, the revolt suppressed, and Isca Dumnoniorum laid waste. Marcus's badly broken leg does not heal and he is discharged from the Legions, with no idea what else he will make of his life (4).

Marcus goes to live with his Uncle Aquila in Calleva, who takes him to the Saturnalia Games, where they watch the defeat of a young gladiator whom Marcus sways the crowd to spare (5). Marcus buys him the next day, and Esca pledges his loyalty to Marcus, but remains reserved about his background. Esca presents Marcus with a wolf-pup acquired in a hunt, during which he was insulted by a Tribune; Marcus insists that he does not regard or treat Esca as property, and Esca eventually tells him that he is the son of a dead clan chieftain of the Brigantes, orphaned and enslaved after a revolt two years ago; and that ten years ago he saw pass by the legion that disappeared in the North (6). In early spring, Marcus meets his neighbours' young niece, Cottia of the Iceni, who bitterly resents being raised as a Roman, and Esca explains to Marcus that the Frontier tribes like his recognise Roman efficiency but hate losing their own less straightforward worldview (7). In late summer, Marcus's injury flares up, and Aquila sends for his old surgeon comrade Rufrius Galarius, who reopens the wound to remove the remaining splinters, telling Marcus that he will recover in a few months' time. Marcus realises in hindsight that despite his homesickness and uncertainty, Esca, Cub, and Cottia have made the summer a good one (8).

The next spring, Marcus and Esca set Cub free in the woods, and Aquila hosts his old comrade Claudius Hieronimianus, Legate of the Sixth Victrix, and his elegant aide-de-camp the Tribune Placidus, who insulted Esca during the wolf hunt. Cub returns once and for all as they welcome the guests (9). At dinner, the Legate mentions a rumour in Eburacum that the Eagle standard of the Ninth Legion has been seen in a holy place of the Northern tribes, perhaps making a focus for unrest but he has no more to go on. Marcus begs for the chance to investigate, with Esca's help, in hopes that the Eagle might be the core of a re-formed Legion, and Aquila and the Legate grant permission with some misgivings. Placidus cynically advises Marcus to free Esca before counting on his loyalty, and Marcus takes him at his word. Like Cub, Esca chooses to remain (10).

Weeks later, in early summer, they cross the Wall at Chilurnium [sic], Marcus disguised as a travelling oculist named Demetrius of Alexandria, inspired and instructed by Rufrius Galarius. In a glen in Valentia, Marcus builds an altar to sacrifice the olive-wood bird he has carried with him since boyhood (11). All summer they cast northwards back and forth across Valentia without finding the trail of the Ninth, and turn south again at the firth. In the ruined fort of Trinomontium, they meet Guern the Hunter, a man of the Painted People, singing a Latin marching song he claims to have learned from the Legionaries (12). After Guern invites them to his homestead, Marcus sees the callus of a Roman helmet strap on his shaven chin and taxes him with his identity. Guern admits that he was once a centurion of the Ninth Legion, which bore an old curse and a tactless Legate into Valentia during unrest following the death of the Emperor Trajan. After severe losses from guerrilla attacks on the march north, they suffered one assault in their crumbling Agricolan wall fort before petitioning the Legate to make terms and retreat. The Legate refused, was cut down, and the fort overrun, many of the men retreating with the tribesmen. The remaining two cohorts, led by Marcus's father the Senior Centurion, fled south in the night and were hunted down. Guern, who dropped out and crawled into a village, saw the Eagle carried northward by the Epidaii tribe. Marcus, brutally disillusioned, resolves to find the Eagle for the sake of Frontier peace, though such a Legion can never be re-formed (13).

They search Epidaii territory to no avail until they meet Dergdian, a Chieftain whose baby has a severe eye infection; while Marcus remains at their dun treating it, Dergdian's Seal Clan hosts the Feast of New Spears at the Place of Life, where the Eagle of the Ninth is brought out of the barrow to show the crowd at the end of the ceremony (14). Dergdian's grandfather Tradui tells Marcus the story of how a great hosting of tribes ten or twelve autumns before had hunted a Red Crest army to their last stand in the bogs north of Trinomontium, and shows Marcus the emerald signet ring he took from their leader, Marcus's father. That night, Marcus and Esca return to the Place of Life to steal the Eagle, hiding it under the banks of the lake before creeping back into their beds (15). The next day they take their leave with the rest of the festival-goers, and the day after, as expected, meet Dergdian and his men looking for the Eagle, and let themselves be searched, fruitlessly. That night they beg the shelter of an outbuilding in which Marcus can cast out the fever supposedly afflicting Esca, and Esca doubles back to the Loch of Many Islets to retrieve the Eagle. The next evening, still two days from the frontier of Valentia, they notice that the brooch is missing from the cloak the Eagle is wrapped in, and Esca remembers that it caught on the bank while he collected the Eagle. If the tribesmen find it, there can only be one reason for Marcus and Esca to have returned (16).

They make tracks down from the highlands, sell their horses at the river crossing into Valentia, and travel by night halfway across it until pursuit catches up with them. Abandoning their horses and fleeing downriver, they meet Guern the Hunter leading a strayed cow (17). The next night, while his tribe is out hunting for Marcus and Esca, he leads them through the only unguarded route south, a nearly impassible bog. Marcus invites him to return with them, but he chooses to remain in the life he has made with his wife and children. Two days later, a few miles from the Wall, the hunt catches up with them, and they go to ground in an abandoned signal tower, not expecting to come out again (18). They ambush the three young hunters who follow them in, and threaten to throw the Eagle into the tarn below if Liathan, Dergdian's young brother, doesn't wave the others off. Liathan tells Marcus that Tradui recognised him for his father's son and sent his ring to bury Marcus with. They take the tribesmen's ponies and make for the Wall, collapsing before the Commander of Borcovicus fort (19).

In late October, Marcus and Esca arrive home in Calleva, where they deliver the Eagle and their story to Claudius Hieronimianus, passing north again. He confirms Marcus's not-quite-hopeless guess that the Legion cannot be re-formed, and Uncle Aquila suggests that they lay it to rest in his hypocaust (20). Marcus's leg injury relapses in reaction to months of overuse, and he spends the winter recovering and once again uncertain about his future. In spring, a newly grown-up Cottia returns from winter vacation and a letter from the Legate arrives on behalf of the Senate: Esca is granted Roman citizenship, and Marcus awarded a full legionary pension in land and a little money, enough for him and Cottia to marry on. His friends expect him to claim land in the Etruscan hills, but Marcus discovers that like Uncle Aquila, he has made the north his home, and he will take his land here in Britain.

That evening, Uncle Aquila mentions that the rebuilding of Isca Dumnoniorum has begun (21).

ChronologyEdit

The Foreword notes, "Sometime about the year 117 AD, the Ninth Legion, which was stationed at Eburacum where York now stands, marched north to deal with a rising among the Caledonian tribes, and never came marching back." (The legion is now thought to have been redeployed elsewhere, but references to its destruction in Britain continue in Sutcliff's later books.) The events of the novel take place nine to twelve years later, 126 to 129 CE.

  • 61 ("sixty [68] years ago"): the Ninth crossed Boudicca (13).
  • c. 100 ("thirty years ago"): Valentia and Trinomontium abandoned (12).
  • 103: Aquila's last visit to Eburacum, 25 years ago, when he "took a contingent of the Second up there in one of the Troubles" (10).
  • 107: Marcus born (1). Esca born (6). Placidus born [likely] (9)
  • 107-117: Marcus and his mother lived on the family farm in Clusium (1).
    • Marcus's father soldiered in Judaea, Egypt, then Britain (1).
  • 109, August: Claudius Hieronimianus's year-long (1) post as tribune of the Tenth Fretensis begins (10).
  • 110: Uncle Aquila is primus pilus of the Fretensis (10)
    • August: Hieronimianus leaves the Fretensis (10)
  • c. 114: Cottia is born (12-13 in spring 127) (7)
  • 115: Guern is promoted to centurion in the Ninth Hispana and transferred to Britain, from his previous post in the Thirtieth [Ulpia Victrix] (13).
  • 117 (Foreword)
    • Marcus is 10 (1). [Alternatively, "since he was eight years old" (13)]
    • Ten years ago: Uncle Aquila begins the History of Siege Warfare (5)
    • Death of Emperor Trajan [9 August] (13); [August 10: Emperor Hadrian assumes power]
    • Immediately afterward: Rebellion in the North; Iceni and Brigantes put down (1,13)
    • Autumn
      • the Ninth ordered north (1,13)
      • Esca, aged 9-10, watches the Ninth march north (6)
      • Arrival on the northern wall and attack (13)
      • Mutiny; general slaughter and desertion
        • That night: the survivors run south
      • Next morning: the tribes take up the hunt
        • That evening: Guern deserts
      • "A few nights later": the Eagle passes north
  • c. 117-118: Marcus's mother dies "soon afterwards" (1)
  • c. 117-125: Marcus age 10-18 lives in Rome with his paternal aunt and her husband Tullus Lepidus (1)
  • c. 122-123, "a year and more" before the revolt: Esca initiated, age 16 (6).
  • 124, two years ago: Esca's clan revolt; his family killed; he enslaved, age 17 (6).
  • 125
    • Marcus applies for a centurion's commission at 18, "a year ago" (1)
    • Marcus lands at Anderida (7)
    • Late autumn: Marcus arrives at Isca Silurium, HQ of the Second Augusta (1)
    • Prior to December 24: Marcus is initiated into the Raven degree of Mithras (5)
    • Saturnalia Games [December 17-23]: Marcus beats Cassius in a chariot race (2)
    • At some point this year ("three years" ago), Claudius Hieronimianus arrives in Britain (10)
  • 126
    • ​Spring or summer: Marcus, aged 19, brings Fourth Gaulish Cohort garrison to Isca Dumnoniorum (1). Roses are in season (2).
    • Next day: Quintus Hilarion takes old garrison to Isca Silurium (1).
    • (2) Marcus meets Cradoc, "not much older"
    • Late summer: rumours of a Druid in the neighbourhood. Bad harvest expected. Marcus and Cradoc wager (2).
    • Next day: Cradoc to Durinum (2).
    • More than 8 days later, still summer: Harvest is in and bad. Cradoc returns; Marcus's driver's test (2).
    • Night after: New moon (3).
    • 2nd night after: Dumnonii revolt. Lutorius, Cradoc killed; Marcus, Galba injured (3).
    • 6 or 7 days later: Marcus wakes up (4).
    • Next day: The Relief Force leaves for Isca [Silurium] (4)
    • 3 weeks later: Marcus is told he will be discharged (4)
    • A few days later: Cassius takes command of the fort, bringing two centuries of the Third Cohort [of Gauls]. The last rose petals drop. (4)
    • End of October: Marcus arrives at his uncle Aquila's in Calleva (5)
    • Soon afterward: Marcus receives word of the Fourth Gaulish's decoration and his own (5)
    • December 24: "eve" of winter solstice; Marcus and Aquila discuss his future (5)
    • Next day, December 25 (5): Saturnalia Games [Saturnalia=17-23 Dec]; Marcus sees Esca, Cottia, and "a bored young tribune"
    • Next day, December 26 (6): Marcus buys Esca
  • 127 (6):
    • Late winter (6): Marcus mending. Guern's daughter born (13).
    • One day (6): Wolf hunt, Esca meets Placidus
    • Next dawn (6): Esca brings back Cub
    • "A few days later", March (6): Esca tells Marcus how he was enslaved
    • "Some days later", "very early spring" (7): Marcus gets to go outside; meets Cottia, aged 12-13
    • 3 days later (8): Cottia returns; Marcus asks Aquila to open relations with Kaeso and Valaria
    • Before late spring (8): Cottia a regular visitor
    • August (8): Marcus's wound worsens
      • Rufrius Galarius comes from Durinum to examine it
      • Next morning: the wound is re-searched
    • Winter (9): Marcus trains with Esca to recover his strength
  • 128
    • April, 8 months after the surgery (9): Marcus and Esca release Cub. Claudius Hieronimianus and Placidus arrive. Cub returns.
      • That evening (10): Marcus decides to go north after the Eagle, manumits Esca.
      • Next morning (10): Hieronimianus leaves for Regnum, Rome
      • That evening (10): Marcus entrusts Cub and his decoration to Cottia
      • Next morning (10): Marcus & Esca leave for Durinum
    • Early summer (11): Marcus and Esca lodge in Chilurnium
      • A few days later: they cross into Valentia
    • All summer (12): they zig-zag up Valentia
    • August
      • (12): They turn back at the Firth of Forth
      • Days later: they arrive at Trimontium
      • Next morning: they meet Guern
      • A day later: they leave for Guern's rath
      • The next morning: Guern shaves. Marcus, Esca, and Guern depart (13)
      • That evening: Guern tells them about the mutiny (13).
      • Next morning: Marcus and Esca ride north (13).
    • "more than a month later", (September?): Marcus and Esca meet Dergdian (14)
    • "many days" later: Marcus catches wind of the Holy Place (14)
      • Next day: the clans arrive
      • 2nd day: the New Spears "die"
      • 3rd day: the Night of the Horned Moon and the Feast of New Spears (14)
      • 4th day/night: Marcus and Esca steal the Eagle (15)
      • 5th day: they leave town with the other festival-goers (16)
      • 6th day/night: Dergdian catches up with them; Esca "falls ill", walks back to the Loch of Many Islets (16)
      • 7th day/night: Marcus waits in the shed; Esca waits in the woods, swims the lake, retrieves the Eagle (16).
      • 8th day/night: Marcus waits; Esca returns (16)
      • 9th day: They cross the mountains; discover the brooch missing (16).
      • 10th day: down Loch Lomond to Are-Cluta (17)
      • 11th day: the sell the horses and cross the Cluta (17)
      • 3 days later, 4th evening: the hunt finds them, 3 days from the Wall; they meet Guern (17)
      • Next day: they hide out in an abandoned quarry (18)
      • That night: they cross the bog and leave Guern (18)
      • 2 days later: They meet Liathan (19)
      • That night: they arrive at Borcovicus (19).
    • Late October: Kaeso, Valaria, and Cottia go to Aquae Sulis for the winter (20)
      • A few days later: Marcus, Esca, and Claudius Hieronimianus meet in Calleva (20)
    • Before new year: Marcus planning a secretarial future (21)
    • 129, winter: Marcus is sick from his wound (21)
      • Spring: Marcus begins to recover; rebuilding of Isca Dumnoniorum begins
      • One day in March: Kaeso, Valaria, and Cottia return to Calleva; the Legate's letter arrives.

CharactersEdit

  • Marcus Flavius Aquila (1), nineteen-year-old Pilus Prior of the Fourth Gaulish Auxiliaries attached to the Second Augustan Legion at Isca Dumnoniorum. Etrurian by birth, of equestrian rank and a military family, orphaned son of the senior centurion of the Ninth Legion (1).
    • alias Demetrius of Alexandria, the Demetrius of Alexandria (11), Greek quack-salver
  • Fourth Gaulish auxiliaries of the Second Legion (1), infantry from the Upper Rhine, "yellow-haired giants"
  • The Ninth Hispana (1), a vanished Spanish legion with a bad name
  • Marcus's father (1), Senior Centurion of the Ninth Legion, "a slight, dark man" who served in Judaea, Egypt, and Britain. His first and last commands were in the Ninth (1).
  • Marcus's mother (1), died soon after his father
  • Marcus's paternal aunt (1), "rather foolish", who takes him in
  • Tullus Lepidus (1, 4), Marcus's uncle by marriage, an official with whom he does not get along
  • Uncle Aquila (1, 4), Marcus's paternal uncle, retired from the legions in Britain
  • Quintus Hilarion (1), centurion, Marcus's predecessor as commander of Isca Dumnoniorum, native born from Durinum.
  • Suetonius Paulinus (1), dealt with the Druids 60 years ago
  • Aulus (2, 4), Isca's Surgeon, "who appeared, like the Quartermaster, to be a fixture, was a gentle soul, content enough in his backwater so long as it contained sufficient of the fiery native spirit" (3).
  • The Quartermaster (2), "a little red angry man who had missed promotion"
  • Lutorius (2), "who commanded the [Isca] fort's one squadron of Dacian Horse, spent all his friendliness on horses and was reserved to the point of sullenness with his own kind." (2). Killed in the battle (4).
  • Paulus (2), one of Marcus's 5 "ranker" centurions at Isca, "overfond of using his vine-staff on his men's backs"
  • Galba (2), one of Marcus's 5 "ranker" centurions at Isca, accepts bribes against fatigues (2). Out on patrol during the attack (3).
  • Drusillus (2), one of Marcus's 5 "ranker" centurions at Isca, "a veteran of many campaigns, full of odd wisdom and hard counsel" (2). Marcus's 2IC (3). Promoted Commander of Borcovicus on the Wall (20).
  • Dacian auxiliaries (2), cavalry commanded by Lutorius
  • Cradoc (2), a hunter and horse-dealer, Marcus's hunting guide, "not many years older" (2). Killed in his chariot wreck (4).
  • Guinhumara (2), Cradoc's wife, tall and reserved
  • the Iceni (2), British horse-breeding tribe. Cradoc's team is descened from their Royal Stables.
  • Fulvius (3), one of Marcus's 5 "ranker" centurions at Isca
  • Clodius Maximus (4), Legionary centurion in command of the relief force from Durinum, "a fine soldier, but a chilly-mannered, bleak-faced man." Commended Marcus and the Fourth.
  • Herpinius (4), Legionary centurion of the relief force left to command the fort
  • Cassius (4), Marcus's friend, "an elegant and very dusty young man", owner of the chariot team Marcus drove. His successor in command of Isca, at the head of two centuries of the Third Gaulish from the Wall.
  • Dexion (4), mutual acquaintance with whom Cassius left the team
  • Third Gaulish Cohort (4), two centuries transferred from the Wall to Isca Dumnoniorum
  • the Painted People (4), unfriendly locals to the Wall
  • Sassticca (5), Aquila's overbearing cook
  • Marcipor (5), Aquila's steward
  • Stephanos (5), Aquila's body servant
  • Procyon (5), Aquila's wolfhound
  • Ulpius (5), doctor at Calleva, fat
  • Margarita (5), Aquila's dog buried at Luguvallium
  • Valaria (5), wife of Kaeso, Icenian maternal aunt of Cottia
  • Kaeso (5), fellow magistrate and neighbour of Aquila, husband of Valaria
  • Cottia (5,7), Valaria's niece. Her mother and brother live with her step-father.
  • Esca Mac Cunoval (5), unenthusiastic gladiator. Son of a rebellious clan chieftain of the Brigantes, whose parents and brothers died in an uprising (6).
  • Beppo (6), the Calleva circus-master
  • Virgil (6), author of the Georgics
  • Cunoval (6), Esca's father the chieftain
  • The Brigantes (6), Esca's warrior-tattooing, wolf-cub-taming Frontier tribe
  • Lugh the Light of the Sun (6), Esca's god
  • Cub (6), a wolf cub rescued by Esca and presented to Marcus
  • Servius Placidus (6), tribune from the transit camp, a good hunter (6).
  • Lucius Urbanus (6), "the contractor's son", a chariot-driving neighbour in Calleva
  • Sull-Minerva (6), goddess with a temple in Calleva
  • Narcissa (7), "Nissa", Cottia's nurse
  • The Iceni (7), Cottia's horse-breeding tribe
  • Prydfirth (7), a horse loved by King Prasutogus
  • Prasutogus (7) dead Icenian king
  • Typhon (7), unpleasant Greek god
  • Perseus and Andromeda* (8), Greek hero and damsel in distress
  • Argos (8), Marcus's dog in Clusium
  • Rufrius Galarius (8), ex-field surgeon of the Second Legion, a Spaniard now of Durinum
  • Claudius Hieronimianus (9), Legate of the Sixth, old friend of Aquila, an Egyptian
  • Bacchus, Roma Dea (9), Placidus swears by them
  • Tungrian Cavalry Cohort (11), stationed at Chilurnium
  • Vipsania (11), Demetrius of Alexandria's ex-cavalry mare
  • Sextus (11), a decurion with questionable eyesight
  • Aesculapius (11), medical deity
  • Alexander (11), an inquiring soul
  • Domitian (12), a face on a coin
  • Agricola (12), a cultivator of forts
  • Minna (12), Esca's ex-cavalry mare
  • Guern (12), a Latin-speaking, Mithras-branded hunter of the Painted People, definitely not a Roman at all (12). Sixth Centurion of the Senior Cohort of the Ninth Hispana (ret.) From Northern Gaul (13).
  • Murna (13), Guern's wife, much younger than him. She nursed Guern after he deserted with a wound (13).
  • A small boy, and even smaller boy, and a very small girl (13), their children
  • the Horned One (13), a praiseworthy god. The Place of Life is sacred to him (15).
  • Ahriman the Dark One (13) a devil to pay. Alleged father of Guern's cow (18).
  • Boudicca (13), Queen of the Iceni, who cursed the Ninth Legion for their treatment of her.
  • The Thirtieth Legion (13), Guern's ranker days
  • The Legate of the Ninth (13), unbending. "He was a brave man, though a fool." Murdered by his men.
  • Emperor Trajan (13), inveterate campaigner
  • The Epidaii (13), captors of the Ninth's Eagle, inhabiting the west coast mountains of Caledonia.
    • Seal People/Clan (14), Dergdian's clan, keepers of the Place of Life
    • Wolf Clan, Salmon Clan, swan, otter, badger, etc. (14), but not eagle
  • the little Dark People (14), the Ancient People, barrow-builders
  • Dergdian (14), young Chieftain of the dun of the Seal People. Savaged by a seal (19).
  • Liathan (14), Dergdian's young brother. Sent with the ring to return it to Marcus (19).
  • Fionhula (14), Dergdian's wife, mother of a baby with an eye infection
  • Tradui (14), Dergdian and Liathan's maternal grandfather, who witnessed the demise of the Ninth (15)
  • Conn (16), owner of the cow-byre in which Marcus and Esca hide out
  • Cartimandua (17), Queen of the Brigantes, purported owner of Vipsania and Minna
  • the Dumnonii (18), Valentian tribe who will join the Epidaii in searching for the Eagle
  • The Selgovae (18), Guern's adopted tribe
  • Gault (19), fisherman who found Marcus's brooch
  • Jupiter (20), the Thunderer

PlacesEdit

  • Britain
    • The Fosseway (1), highway
    • The Red Mount (1), on which Isca Dumnoniorum sits
      • Isca (Dumnoniorum) (1), [Exeter] a Roman frontier fort and barely Romanised town on the river [Exe]. Burnt in reprisal for the uprising (4). Rebuilding begins in early 129 (21).
    • Durinum (1), [Dorchester] Quintus Hilarion's home. Cradoc sells horses there (2). Rufrius Galarius practices there (8).
    • Calleva Atrebatum (1), [Silchester] Uncle Aquila's retirement home
      • The Forest of Spinaii (4), outside Calleva. Means "the forest of thorns", after the blackthorn trees (21).
      • The transit camp (5), outside the walls
      • The arena (5), outside the walls
      • The Golden Vine (9), where they out hire ponies
    • Isca (Silurium) [Caerleon] (1), base of the Second Augustan. Hence the Fourth Gaulish to Isca Dumnoniorum; thither the relief force (3). Where Marcus was branded in the cult of Mithras (5).
    • Hadrian's Wall (4), where the Third Gaulish of the Second have been stationed (4). Beyond and before which Aquila had a "painted tribesman" blood brother (5). 80 miles of wall, fort, ditch, road, and towns (11).
      • Luguvallium (5), [Carlisle] Aquila's dog buried there (5). Westernmost wall fort (11).
      • Segedunum (5), [Wallsend], Uncle Aquila served there (5). Easternmost wall fort (11).
      • Chilurnium [sic, usually Cilurnum] (11), [Chesters, Walwick] where Marcus and Esca lodge, then cross. An eastern wall fort in a wooded river valley.
      • Borcovicus (19), [Housesteads] where they cross back. Sits a hundred feet above the burn of the glen. Commanded by Drusillus.
    • Dubris (5), [Dover], Uncle A's first sight of Britain, as a young man
    • Glevum (5), [Gloucester] Uncle Aquila's girlfriend buried there
    • Silurian territory (5) [Wales], Aquila hunted boar there, with Rufrius Galarius (8).
    • Eboracum, Eburacum (1, 6), [York] HQ of the Ninth, then Sixth Legion, including Hieronimianus and Placidus
    • The Forest of Anderida (7), above Anderida, contiguous with the Spinaii
    • Anderida [sic, usually Anderitum] (7), [Pevensey] port where Marcus first landed, and bought his flowered dagger
    • Regnum (9), southern port of Claudius and Placidus's departure
    • Valentia (10), nominal province between Hadrian's Wall and Caledonia.
      • A glen (11), where Marcus raises an altar
      • Trinomontium [sic, usually Trimontium] (12), [Eildon] the Place of Three Hills, fort raised by Agricola.
      • Guern's rath (12), a day or more west of Trinomontium
      • Bog country a day north of Trinomontium (15), where the Ninth made its last stand
      • Place of the fighting stags (17), where they shake off pursuit
      • Old sandstone quarry (18), abandoned by the Romans, where they hide
      • A bog (18) at the edge of Guern's hunting runs, two days north of the Wall, the only unguarded route south
      • A Roman signal-tower (19), 12-14 miles forward of the Wall
    • Caledonia (10), in Celtic, Albu (13)
      • Epidaii territory (13), [Argyll & Kintyre], the firths of the west coast north of the Cluta
        • the Royal Dun (13), Marcus visits there sometime before Dergdian's dun (14)
        • Cruachan (14) [Ben Nevis], northern mountain, "the shield-boss of the world"
        • A lot of holy places (14)
        • the Loch of Many Islets (14) [Loch Awe]
          • dun of the Seal People (14), on its western shore
        • the Place of Life (14), the Holy Place, a barrow at the north end of a glen above the sea
        • [Loch Fyne] (16), unnamed sea loch east of the Loch of Many Islets
        • Unnamed village at the head of Loch Fyne (16), where Esca "recovers from fever"
        • A broch on the other side of the mountains (16), two days north of the Valentian frontier
        • [Loch Lomond] (16), south of the broch, which they followed on the trip north
    • the Firth [of Forth] (12), divides Valentia from Caledonia. Where they double back south.
    • the northern wall (13), built by Agricola [not really], now ruined, about 40 miles north of Guern's rath. [Actually a line of forts built by Agricola; the Antonine Wall did not yet exist.]
      • Agricola's old base (13), the Ninth's HQ on the last campaign, a death trap
    • Firth of Cluta (13) [Firth of Clyde], beyond which Caledonia
      • the river Cluta (13)
      • Are-Cluta (17), former Roman frontier town, now a native market port
    • Aquae Sulis (20) [Bath], a fashionable watering-place
    • The South Downs (21), countryside in which Calleva sits
  • Hibernia (8) [Ireland], across the Western Ocean. Rufrius Galarius knew an oculist who travelled there (8). Called Eriu by the Celts (17).
  • Upper Gaul (1), home of the Fourth Gaulish auxiliaries
  • Italy
    • Etruria (1), hill country where Marcus grew up
      • Clusium (1), site of Marcus's parents' farm, sold
    • Rome (1), where Marcus lived with his aunt and uncle
      • the Colosseum (2), where they race chariots
      • Mars Field (2), where Marcus learned to drive
    • Vesuvius (1), a by-word for trouble
    • Tiber-side (5), where slum women get water
    • The Alban Hills (9), where Senators have estates
    • The Apennines (21), beyond the Etruscan farmsteads
  • Judaea (1), Marcus's father served there; Uncle Aquila discharged there (5); First Cohort of the Fretensis; Claudius Hieronimianus Tribune (9).
    • Jerusalem (6), Aquila writing about the siege
    • Caesarea (10, 11),
  • Egypt (1), Marcus's father served there
    • Memphis (5), Uncle Aquila served there
  • Achaea (10), Roman province of Greece
  • Spain (12), where the Ninth was recruited
  • Thrace (12), featured in "The Girl I Kissed at Clusium"
  • Portus Itius (21), a continental port
  • Thessaly (21), where there are witches
  • Tartarus, Tophet (3), fiery hells
  • the Elysian Fields (4), where Lutorius may find horses
  • the fields of Ra (10), where dead spirits go
  • Lethe (18), a river you can't cross twice

Historical and literary backgroundEdit

  • Claudius Hieronymianus, Legate of the Sixth Legion at Eburacum, is attested in an inscription viewable at British History Online.
  • Rudyard Kipling
    • "The Roman Centurion's Song", A History of England, 1911 – Uncle Aquila's speech on retiring in the north, ch. 5, "Ever notice how changeful British skies are?"
      • Ch. 21: "would there not be another hunger on him all his life? For other scents and sights and sounds; pale and changeful northern skies and the green plover calling?"
    •  "A Centurion of the Thirtieth", Puck of Pook's Hill, 1906 – first command
    • "Young Men at the Manor", Puck – De Aquila
  • George Whyte-Melville, The Gladiators: A Tale of Rome and Judaea, 1863 – Esca
  • The flawed emerald signet ring reappears in Megan Whalen Turner's 1996 novel The Thief.

Publication historyEdit

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.