Acrylic on canvas
Calgacus – The Last of the Free
Awake o Pictish warrior, defender of the faith, keeper of the symbols, defier of empires and religions.
In 84 AD, Calgacus, chief swordsman of the caledonians faced the mighty Roman General Agricola and thirty thousand of Romes finest and made this rousing exhortation.
“We,” cried Calgacus, “the choicest flower of British manhood, were hidden away in her most sacred place, we, the last of the free, have been shielded by our very remoteness. But there is now no kingdom beyond us, nothing is there but waves and rocks. And the Romans still more savage than these, for there is in them an arrogance which no submission or good behaviour can appease. Neither East nor West has contented them. Alone, of all men, they covet with equal rapacity the rich and the needy. Plunder, murder, and robbery they call ‘empire,’ and when they make a wilderness, they call it ‘peace.
The Picts lost that day, ten thousand of them fell in the battle.
the national disaster should have taught them peace, but news of the atrocity and the glory rushed through Pictland like wildfire, burning a far deeper hatred of Rome into every heart and mind. Round the fires and meeting places, the Picts lamented the loss of their kinsfolk, and made their most
solemn oaths of revenge.
For another three hundred years the Picts continued sacrificing their lives for freedom until the gloriuous campaign of the early fifth century saw them march as far as london and drive the hated Roman empire onto their boats and away from Britain forever.