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.  See here for a much fuller discussion of the location of this battlefield.

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.  Alternatively, Greek γρυπη ‘Vulture's nests’ (apparently a variant of γυπη and related to γρυψ ‘griffin, lammergeier’) might metaphorically describe the multiple hillforts presumably occupied by Caledonians on the summits of Craig Rossie.  Or else it might literally describe the haunts of birds occupying the vulture niche in this area, which include eagles, buzzards, and red kites.

Notes:  Greek must be taken seriously in this area because so many of its other ancient names look very Greek.  Roman marching camps at Dunning (probably Victoria) and at Broomhill, near Forteviot (probably Marcotaxon) were close enough for Roman soldiers to march to this battle site.

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Last edited: 24 July 2018