Battle plan of Mons Graupius

The day before the battle the Romans quickly marched to the site and arriving late they surprised the Caledonians who were still gathering for the battle on what became known until fairly recently as "Quarrel Hill" but was then known as "Mons Graupius".

The Romans built a camp about 4.5miles from the Caledonians which faced toward the Caledonians across the plain of the Lossie river.

The next morning the Caledonians stood along the natural terraces of Quarrel hill forming the tiered ranks described by tacitus and war chariots rushed across the flat lands near the river.

The Caledonians had chosen a very defensive site. Their west flank was protected by marshes and bogs and then higher ground. Their rear was protected by Loch Spynie (already started to be drained when this map was drawn in 1750 but now much smaller). In front of them was the river Lossie and then steep banks cutting into Quareel hill.

Notes:

  • map from William Roy (1750)
  • The town of Elgin is obviously as it was in the 18th century and may not have been present at the time of the battle.
  • The size of the armies is based on estimates of their size and typical fighting formations.