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Calgacus is the name given by Tacitus to the leader of the Caledonian confederacy at the climactic battle against the Romans under Agricola at Mons Graupius in 83/4. Calgacus appears only to give a speech inveighing against the evils of Rome and exhorting his followers to resist as last of the free Britons. It contains the famous epigram ‘ubi solitudinem faciunt pacem appellant’, ‘they create a desert and call it peace’. However, such set-piece speeches are a convention of Graeco-Roman histories; and as such we are hearing the words and thoughts of Tacitus, not Calgacus.

Alan Simon Esmonde Cleary

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