90 Miles From Tyranny : The Eagle

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Eagle

I Just watched the movie: The Eagle, pretty good movie, apparently the Seal people are based loosley on the picts.

Plot summary

In the year 140 AD, 20 years after the Ninth Legion disappeared in the north of Britain, Marcus Flavius Aquila, a young Roman centurion, arrives in Britain to serve at his first post as a garrison commander. Marcus's father disappeared with the eagle standard of the ill-fated legion, and Marcus hopes to redeem his family's honor by bravely serving in Britain. Shortly afterward, only Marcus's alertness and decisiveness save the garrison from being overrun by Celtic tribesmen. He is decorated for his bravery but honorably discharged due to a severe leg injury.
Living at his uncle's estate near Calleva (modern Silchester) in southern Britain, Marcus has to cope with his military career having been cut short and his father's name still being held in disrepute. Heeding rumours that the eagle standard has been seen in the north of Britain, Aquila decides to recover it. During a fight to the death for entertainment, a Briton (Esca) is defeated by an opponent after refusing to fight back, but Marcus persuades the crowd to spare the man's life. Despite the warnings of his uncle and his fellow Romans, who believe that no Roman can survive north of Hadrian's Wall, he travels north into the territory of the Picts, accompanied only by his slave Esca. The son of a deceased Brigantes chieftain, Esca detests Rome and what it stands for but also considers himself bound to his master, who saved his life during an amphitheater show.
After several weeks of travelling through the northern wilderness, Esca and Marcus encounter Guern, one of the survivors of the Ninth Legion, who attributes his survival to the hospitality of the Selgovae tribe. Guern recalls that all but a small number of deserters were killed in an ambush by the northern tribes – including Esca's Brigantes – and that the eagle standard was taken away by the Seal People, the most vicious of the tribes. The two travel further north until they are found by the Seal People. Identifying himself as a chieftain's son fleeing Roman rule and claiming Marcus as his slave, Esca is welcomed by the tribe. After allowing the Seal People to mistreat Marcus, Esca eventually reveals that his actions were a ploy and helps his master to find the eagle. As they retrieve it, they are ambushed by several warriors, including the Seal Prince's father, but Marcus and Esca manage to kill them and escape with the eagle standard. With the aid of the Seal Prince's young son, Esca and Marcus manage to escape the Seal People's village.
The two flee south in an effort to reach Hadrian's Wall, with the Seal People in hot pursuit. Marcus, slowed by his old battle wound, orders Esca to take the eagle back to Roman territory and even grants the reluctant slave his freedom. Freed, Esca still refuses to abandon his friend and instead heads out to look for help. He returns with the survivors of the Ninth legion just as the Seal People catch up with them. The legionaries, wishing to redeem themselves, accept Aquila as their commander and prepare to defend the eagle standard. As an example to those who would betray their people, the Seal Prince kills his young son in front of Esca, Marcus, and the legionaries. He then orders his warriors to attack. A battle ensues, in which the Seal Prince and all his warriors are killed, along with most of the Ninth Legion soldiers. After burying the fallen legionaries – including Guern – Marcus, Esca, and the few survivors of the Ninth return to Roman territory, where Aquila delivers the eagle to the astonished governor in Londinium. There is some talk of the Ninth legion being reformed with Marcus its commander. But when Marcus and Esca wonder what they will do next, Marcus leaves the decision to Esca.

The Ninth Legion

      The above picture is of tile-stamps left behind by the  Ninth legion and later found in Britain by archaeologists, physical evidence of the Ninth’s existence.

     Roman Ninth Legion did actually exist, and its disappearance continues to interest historians. The wall which separated Roman territory from unsettled territory was built in 122 A.D., and the Ninth Legion was “last mentioned in 108-109”. A new group (the Sixth Victrix) took their place in 122 A.D., which would mean “presumably, the Ninth is no longer there…the Ninth has disappeared from the army lists by 170 at the latest.” The Ninth Legion’s activity is puzzling, considering that they were last recorded in 109, were replaced in 122, then completely disappeared before 170. There are inscriptions of survivors, which would seem to show that the whole legion was not destroyed. Usually a fresh group of soldiers were brought in to restore the legion. However, the Ninth was removed from the Lists completely. One theory is that because the Ninth was removed even though it had not been completely wiped out, then the Ninth must have disgraced itself in some way. (Stanier, 310)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Test Word Verification