Famously (or infamously), the Roman Ninth Legion is believed to have disappeared around the end of the 1st century AD, a view made popular by Rosemary Sutcliff in her fictionalised account of the story in The Eagle of the Ninth. Simon Elliott tackles this somewhat controversial subject in his latest book, in which he examines the archaeological and historical evidence for the fate of the Ninth, and explores several prominent theories surrounding their alleged disappearance from history, favouring the idea that they disappeared in an unrecorded incident somewhere in Scotland. Occasionally lacking in archaeological evidence to support his arguments, Elliott more than makes up for this in his enthusiasm for the subject. This is an admirable attempt to bring together different elements of the story, and Elliott has a good wade through the myths and stories surrounding its fate. Roman Britain’s Missing Legion is undoubtedly one of those books which courts controversy, and some will happily accept Elliott’s arguments while others will challenge them, but, either way, it is an interesting and entertaining read.
Roman Britain’s Missing Legion: What Really Happened to IX Hispana?, Simon Elliott, Pen & Sword, £19.99, ISBN 978-1526765727.
Review by Andrew Tibbs.