Roman times

The Romans first made their way into Scotland in the year 79 AD when Agricola advanced through southern Scotland. In the Drumchapel area the native tribe was probably the Damnoni but it seems they offered little resistance to the Roman troops. Agricola advanced as far as Moray and Nairn defeating the Caledonians at Mons Graupius, but he was later recalled to Rome. The Romans established forts and roads, but by the turn of the century, they all but abandoned Scotland, instead building Hadrian's Wall c. 120 AD between the Solway and the Tyne.

Cross-section of Antonine Wall

When Hadrian was succeeded by Antoninus Pius in 138 AD, the Romans were ordered to advance into Scotland again and in 142-43 AD the Antonine Wall was built between the Clyde and the Forth. This turf wall was commorated by distance slabs along its length, and forts and roads were built behind it. The Antonine Wall runs along the north edge of Drumchapel, meeting a fort at Castlehill.

By the time of 160 AD most of these forts were abandoned; the Romans moving their military frontier back to Hadrian's Wall. The Romans attempted to buy off the Picts, but this peace did not last long. In 208 AD the Governor of Brittannia asked Septimus Severus for help. He brought a large army into Scotland to pacify the Picts in 209. The campaign was successful for a short time but, in 211, Severus died in York and the campaign was abandoned.

The Romans began another campaign under Constantine the Great. In 315 he assumed the title 'Britannicus Maximus' no doubt after victories over the Picts.

Around 360 AD, the Picts and the Scots (of Ulster) allied against the Romans and both habitually raided Roman territory. Gildas, the Christian monk, in 540 AD writes of 'foul hordes of Scots and Picts, like dark throngs of worms who wriggle out of narrow fissures in the rock when the sun is high and the weather grows warm.' He also tells of their wars against the Romans in 382-90, 396-98 and c. 450 AD; although this last war was actually with the Romanised Britons of Strathclyde, under their King Ceretic Gulectic. This appears to be the last time the Picts and Scots acted as allies. In 410, the Romans were to pull out of Britain for good, and in Scotland their occupation had unified various tribal groupings; the kingdom of Strathclyde being a prime example. The next great cultural change was just beginning - the advent of Christianity.