NIGHTBRINGER | The Arthurian Encyclopedia


Old English: Scotia
Aledon, Caledon, Caledoniae, Calidoine, Calydon, Celidon, Celyddon, Celydon, Cylyddon

Caledonia is the Latin name used by the ancient Romans to refer to the geographical area that corresponds roughly to modern Scotland. The term “Caledonia” does not represent a kingdom or political entity but rather a general designation for the northern part of Britain.

The later Arthurian cycle named Celyddon as one of the possible sites for one of Arthur’s battles. In this guise it possibly cognate with Cat Coit Celidon, or Silva Caledoniae, the Caledonian forest of southern Scotland, or Celidon Wood to the north of Lincoln.

Geographical Reference
The Romans, particularly during their early interactions with the peoples of Britain, used the term Caledonia to denote the region north of the Roman province of Britannia. The exact boundaries were not precisely defined.

Roman Invasions
The Romans, under commanders like Julius Caesar and later Emperor Claudius, attempted to conquer and incorporate the island of Britain into the Roman Empire. The Roman presence in Britain led to encounters with various Celtic and indigenous peoples, including those in the region referred to as Caledonia.

Caledonian Confederacy
The peoples living in Caledonia were likely diverse, consisting of various Celtic tribes and other indigenous groups. The term is sometimes associated with a confederation of tribes resisting Roman expansion.

Roman Frontiers
The Romans built a series of defensive structures, including Hadrian’s Wall and later the Antonine Wall, as attempts to secure their southern borders against potential threats from Caledonia.

Romano-Caledonian Period
The Romans engaged in intermittent military campaigns in Caledonia, facing resistance from the indigenous populations. Notable events include the Battle of Mons Graupius in 83 AD, as described by the Roman historian Tacitus, although the exact location and details of this battle remain uncertain.

End of Roman Rule
The Roman presence in Britain waned over time, and by the early fifth century, Roman control over the island came to an end due to various factors, including external threats and internal instability in the Roman Empire.

Later Historical Associations
The term Caledonia continued to be used in later historical and literary contexts to evoke the ancient and mysterious northern reaches of Britain. It is sometimes emplyed in poetry, literature, and later periods of Scottish history.

While Caledonia itself did not represent a unified kingdom, the historical interactions between the Roman Empire and the diverse peoples of northern Britain left an imprint on the cultural and historical landscape of the region.

See also
Caledon Wood | The Legend of King Arthur