Thursday, June 23, 2011

The mystery of Rosemary Sutcliff and the ninth legion

One of you regular readers – but I cannot find who at the moment, sorry – commented a while back pointing me to the fact that Rosemary Sutcliff’s story of the , The Eagle of the Ninth, was the jumping off point for a column in The Church Times earlier this year by Simon Parke (sic!), entitled ‘The Mystery of the Ninth’. He concluded:

“It was the Ninth ..the most exposed and northerly of all legions in Britain, that bore the brunt of the unrest. But where and why did they cease to exist? After York, the archaeological trail of this elite force of soldiers grows strangely cold. Sometimes mystery is more gripping than fact, and loss more wondering than gain.”

The full column is reproduced, with permission from the writer, below. It sets out broadly one version of the case for and against Rosemary’s ‘imagined’ version of events.

More at Rosemary Sutcliff