“As The Eagle film dramatises ancient tale, the 2,000 year riddle of Rome’s lost Ninth Legion is solved” | Mail Online

Rosemary Sutcliff‘s imagined fate of the ninth legion, as told in her historical novel for young adults The Eagle of the Ninth, which is the basis for the new film The Eagle, is about to receive support from a new documentary by UK producer-director Phil Hirst. According to the UK Daily Mail:

For centuries, historians have puzzled over the disappearance of a legion of 5,000 battle-hardened Roman soldiers in northern Britain around 108 AD.The ancient riddle, which has captivated storytellers, has just been dramatised by Hollywood in The Eagle, starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell. Now, experts have revealed that the children’s book on which the film is based is more fact than fiction …

The dramatic new evidence hinges on a single gravestone tribute and was brought to light by historian and film-maker Phil Hirst, whose documentary Rome’s Lost Legion will be screened next month.

I know this is going to be controversial, not least from various conversations and comments on this blog! But it is good publicity for Phil Hirst’s documentary, the film The Eagle, and let us hope also, the book The Eagle of the Ninth. (The documentary Rome’s Lost Legion is on the History Channel on March 18. The Eagle opens in UK cinemas on March 25. The book has been available since 1954 …)

Source: As a Hollywood film dramatises ancient tale, the 2,000 year riddle of Rome’s lost Ninth Legion is solved at last | Mail Online.

5 thoughts on ““As The Eagle film dramatises ancient tale, the 2,000 year riddle of Rome’s lost Ninth Legion is solved” | Mail Online

  1. Hi Guys,

    I only ever get worked up about historians who when they start to work for the likes of the history channel then start to say things they would never normally utter.

    The film will be good or bad depending on your point of view, but its always good to see ancient films being made, although Centurion was just dire film making.

    Rosemary’s book was great and read it as a child.

    Quite layback really just like to vent a little when people stick their heads out into the open.

    All the best

    Paul – Hadrian’s Wall Live


    • Thanks for the comment Paul. I am with you about Centurion! I enjoyed ‘your venting’: I am meeting some journalists tomorrow who may ask about the ‘history’. In summary, what is your take on what hypotheses the evidence, such as it is, does and does not support?


  2. It seems to me that Paul Darnell is less upset about inaccuracies in Rosemary Sutcliff’s story (after all, when she wrote “Eagle of the Ninth” her premise about the fate of the Ninth was a perfectly reasonable one) but more that he feels the History Channel is perpetuating inaccuracy in an attempt to cash in on “The Eagle” movie. I guess we’ll just have to watch the doco and make up our own minds :)


  3. Thanks. It is an interesting riposte.

    I do get a little amazed at how worked up people get about this …it seems to me Rosemary had the greatest fun imagining what might have happened. Or rather, as she would have it, telling a story that was within her.

    She would have taken it in her stride to learn that the pendulum may have swung (?) a little back towards the historical accuracy of her story … or less away from it! I cannot remember what I said when Phil Hirst came here to interview me about Rosemary, but I suspect it will upset some!


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