Mons Graupius

Attested:  Tacitus Agricola 29 ad montem Graupium.

Where:  Beside the Ochil Hills near Dunning, with a memory of Graupius preserved by the modern place name Duncrub and by the Roman-era name Victoria.  4 km away from the Roman camp at Dunning is Forteviot, which appears to have been an important gathering place for local people from the Bronze Age into Pictish times.

Name OriginGraupius looks like a Latinised version of crop ‘round swelling’, which shows up in later English place names meaning ‘hump, hill, hill-top’ (Smith, 1956:113).  The word probably descended from PIE *ger- ‘curving’, which developed strongly in Germanic languages, as would have been used by the Batavian and Tungrian troops in the Roman army mentioned by Tacitus.

Notes:  Feachem (1970) picked Dubcrub as the likely site of Mons Graupius.  Woolliscroft and Hoffmann (2006) were sceptical, but they did remark that the Gask watch towers seemed to look more south than north.  A Roman camp at Dunning would probably have been supplied by water, up the river Earn from the River Tay, and the Horrea Classis.  The romanscotland website carefully examined most possible sites for mons Graupius, made a very convincing case that Feachem was right, and showed how the battle might have played out.  Sadly, that site has disappeared from the Internet.

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Last Edited: 27 June 2017