An Email with a PDF attachment  was received by the Heritage Group from Norman J Penny  regarding the Bona,  the Clune Boarstone , the Knocknagael Boar Stone and a possible connection to the Roman Empire.  Norman originally comes from Inverness , his father used to own Ogston’s Chemists (long since gone!) in Union Street. In his covering email He writes

“The main thrust of my research has been on the prospective religious purpose of specifically the Pictish “Symbol” Stones, i. e. not including those (generally termed Class 2 and 3) that are Christian. I have proposed a connection between the symbols and a religion practiced in the Roman Army – Mithraism. With that Roman connection I have concluded the Symbol Stones were initially created by people from the Roman Army who stayed after withdrawal around 212CE. All of that, together with decodes for the Symbols, are at my website
I expect my book (about to be published) – Pictish-Mithraism the Purpose of the Pictish Symbol Stones – will create some debates as my suggestion is that it was not necessarily the indigenous population who created the Symbol Stones – initially at least.
Returning to the Stones with boar inscriptions I do not see them as “symbol” stones outright – rather commemorative of the 20th Legion.  The real prospect of a Roman Army presence around Bona is, arguably, very much reinforced by the boar carvings. ”

While Norman’s views are of course his own, his article may stimulate some debate and help towards achieving a clearer understanding of Roman activities in this area-bearing in mind there are other boar stone carvings in Scotland  a notable one is at Dunadd.


NB about the Clune stone

A flat stone, with the figure of a boar incised on one face was found ” about thirty years before” when reclaiming waste land not far from a cottage on Clune Farm. When first found it was much larger but was broken in the excavation and then trimmed for use in the chimney-head of the cottage whence it was removed by the author. It now measures 22 inches by 16 1/2 inches by 7 inches in thickness. J Anderson 1889.

The stone shows three legs and the middle portion of the body of a beast, probably wild boar, ornamented with spiral curves. It is now in the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland (NMAS, Cat. No. IB 38).      Information from OS. PSAS 1878; J R Allen 1903.


One Response to Pictish Stones, Boars & A Roman Legion – A Bona Connection ?

  • Hello,Roman Historians tell that they not only invaded Scotland but they failed to conquer, Severus lost upwards of 50 thousand men. Cassius Dio talks of the Roman Army having to kill their own men rather than have them fall into the hands of the Caledonians. Severus died in York -Eboracum as we know but what the history books do not say is that the Caledonians followed the Romans to York and Severus died in Battle against them. Conjecture ? perhaps but that is also written.
    So the possibility of the connection with the Clune stone yes.
    As to whether the Caledonians allowed any to remain after the incursion North in my mind is doubtful but of course their will be a Mithraic connection.

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