Barbarians Rising? Another Dose of Revisionist History!

Another sunny day here in Jakarta, and I’m planning my dynamic day.


I have recently been watching the History Channel more often, and will do so again tonight, as their much-heralded ‘Barbarians Rising’ series begins.

The previews have intrigued me, not least the image of Boudicca, that courageous Queen of the Iceni, who inhabited parts of what is now East Anglia. Her capital was Colchester, which the Romans called Camulodunum.

That has always made me wonder if it was the site of Camelot, legendary stronghold of Artorius, another, later, British champion – but that’s another story .

In school we learned of the Queen’s heroic resistance war, though her name then was rendered Boadicea,

The latest star to play the role is a nifty Scottish actress named Kirsty Mitchell, who was born in Glasgow and thus presumably knows how to handle tough guys!.


Kirsty Mitchell

Her photo above actually reminds me of somebody I met in a Blok M bar here in Jakarta a few years ago, at least the approach to make-up as illustrated.

But the objective of the series is revisionism, the idea being that, to date, historians have written almost everything from the Roman Empire’s point of view, echoing the hostile things Roman historians had to say about their empire’s enemies.

Clearly the ancient Roman intelligentsia took a more patriotic perspective than many modern British scribblers do.


Belittling and besmirching the all the great and good achievements of Britannia’s ‘dominion over palm and pine‘ has all too often been the norm.

Even here in Jakarta, there’a determined effort by leftist pressure-groups to alter people’s perspectives on the PKI, the totalitarian hypocrites of the Indonesian Communist Party.

BBC Bias On PKI – So Kids Shouldn’t Learn Nazis Were Evil? 

Certain revisionist media want the Government to ‘apologise’ to the PKI on behalf of the Indonesian people, whom that same PKI, in 1965, was so desperate to enslave!

However, in general, there’s no harm at all in presenting alternative views, especially since those old ‘bearded ones,’ which is what ‘barbarians’ means, left few written records of their own outlook.

 The fair-minded Tacitus, writing in Rome nearly two thousand years ago, at least attributed heart-felt words to Calgacus, the Pictish war-lord,  which probably reflected the attitude of some at least of Rome’s foes.

‘They create desolation and call it peace.’

Sounds a bit like a modern United Nations Peace-Keeping Force, like that in Katanga in the Sixties, when the UN destroyed an anti-communist struggle for self-determination!


I once spent some of a summer, many years ago, helping to excavate the fort at Inchtuthil, on Scotland’s Firth of Tay, which was Emperor Septimius Severus’ bastion against those same Picts.

At the time, I knew quite a lot about the Romans but nothing of those ‘painted people’ – again, the real meaning of ‘Picts.’

It wasn’t till much later, when I  started to take an interest in my roots, that I found their real name was the Cruthin, the original Ulster-Scots…

 A good little history – don’t know if it’s still in print


…..who were subjugated by the Gaels but many of whose descendants crossed the water to reclaim their homeland during the Plantation in the very first years of the C17th.

My own ancestors settled near Kilrea, ‘five miles from the Bann shore, ‘ whence Old Joe, my Great3-grandfather, chose to move to Canada in the early C19th.

So I am more than open-minded on the issue of who was right or wrong back in the day.

devil destroyed


Besides, with all Europe menaced by very real barbarians today, there are more important things to fret about!

Okay, enough trips down Memory Lane.

There’s a heap of ironing back there but happily a visitor on the way, so I’ll have an easy day and be relaxed and ready to watch Barbarians Rising tonight.