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Archive for the ‘The Eagle of the Ninth’ Category

Julia Eccleshare, expert on children’s and young adult’s fiction and literature (and Book Doctor at The Guardian), recently wrote a piece for theguardian.com with recommendations for historical fiction for children and teenagers which is not about the world wars. Of Rosemary Sutcliff she said:

In her many novels, Rosemary Sutcliff charted the making of Britain from the simple living of the upland shepherds of the Bronze Age in Warrior Scarlet to Elizabethan England in The Queen Elizabeth Story. She concentrated particularly on Roman Britain reflecting the many attitudes and experiences around the coming together of different cultures as the Romans and the indigenous population learned to live together and to blend their two very different ways of life.

In a loose series of titles which includes The Eagle of the Ninth and Dawn Wind Rosemary Sutcliff writes of Romano-British occupation and skirmish but she also details the home life of both sides describing the cooking, weaving and celebrations of the British tribes and the more advanced home comforts of the Roman invaders such as the installation of central heating in their villas.

Other authors she recommended were: Geoffrey TreaseLeon Garfield, Jill Paton Walsh, Berlie Doherty, Sally Nicholls, Adele Geras, John Rowe Townsend, and Melvin Burgess .

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Cover of Sun Horse, Moon Horse by Rosemary Sutcliff | UK Hardback edition

Rosemary Sutcliff imagined the story behind the magical White Horse of Uffington for her 1977 children’s book (historical fiction) Sun Horse, Moon Horse. It involved the Epidi (meaning “Horse People”), a tribe that had also appeared in her earlier 1954 novel The Eagle of the Ninth. In the author’s note to the original publication she wrote:

If any of you who have read it have also followed the adventures of Marcus and Esca in The Eagle of the Ninth, and think that Lubrin’s people are not very like the Epidi who they found when they went north to rescue the eagle of the lost legion, I can only say that when I wrote that story, I had not read (T. C. Letherbridge’s bokk) Witches. And if I had, I would have made them a slightly different people. Though, of course, they might have changed quite a lot in more than two hundred years.

Earlier she explained the origins of her story, in a book by T. C. Letherbridge and an unusually old White Horse:

(more…)

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L’Aigle de la Neuvième Légion is the French film version of The Eagle film derived from Rosemary Sutcliff’s best-selling historical fiction book L’Aigle de la Neuvième Légion (The Eagle of the Ninth). Posts about the film on this blog here.
L'Aigle de la Neuvième Légion on TV en France aujourd’hui!

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In 2009, Lindsey Davis—writer of classical thrillers, creator of private investigator and poet Falco—listed in The Guardian newspaper her top ten books from her “shelves and shelves” of Roman material. She included Rosemary Sutcliff in “ten that are scholarly but user-friendly …  all books I have enjoyed, all influenced my love of ancient Rome and most of them are in regular use for my work”.

Of The Eagle of the Ninth, by Rosemary Sutcliff, she wrote:

Somewhere about the year 117 AD, the Ninth Legion, which was stationed at Eboracum, where York now stands, marched north to deal with a rising among the Caledonian tribes, and was never heard of again. Hooked? If not, there’s no hope for you. A wonderful novel, for children of all ages.

With excerpts from her remarks, her other nine choices were:  (more…)

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Cover to Rosemary Sutcliff's The Eagle of the Ninth Original UK edition 1954Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Eagle of the Ninth is rooted in  the history of a real Roman legion. A couple of years back I noted some references about the history from a website that has now disappeared – by one Ross Cowan. He had written that

… to learn more, especially about the evidence for the legion in the period c. AD 118-161, see :

Birley, A. R. The Roman Government of Britain. Oxford: 2005, 228-229.

Birley, E. B. ‘The Fate of the Ninth Legion’ in R. M. Butler (ed.) Soldier and Civilian in Roman Yorkshire. Leicester: 1971, 71-80.

Campbell, D. B. Roman Legionary Fortresses, 27 BC – AD 378. Oxford: 2006, 27-29.

Cowan, R. For the Glory of Rome: A History of Warriors and Warfare. London: 2007, 220-234 and 271-273.  (more…)

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TV ProgrammeRosemary Sutcliff‘s historical novel The Eagle of the Ninth, which by 2011 had sold more than a million copies since its appearance in 1954 (according to publisher OUP), was made into a BBC TV series shot in Aberdeenshire in the 1970s.

Rosemary  Sutcliff adored the portrayal of Marcus, the hero. As I have posted before, I thought ” I probably had” old old video tapes of hers in the attic. I do not, I find now on moving house.

Some readers here and ‘likers’ of the Facebook page have lobbied for a re-release or at least DVD.  I have tried.  Meanwhile John has been doing sterling work respondng to requests for DvDs (see below). And now there is some action about downloading  with torrents (and I have managed to dowlaod the whole series and am loving it – I last watched it I think with Rosemary).

The TV series was broadcast in six episodes.

  1. Frontier Fort (4 September 1977)
  2. Esca (11 September 1977)
  3. Across the Frontier (18 September 1977)
  4. The Lost Legion (25 September 1977)
  5. The Wild Hunt (2 October 1977)
  6. Valedictory (9 October 1977)

Very tiny excerpts here.

(Revised 3/2/14)

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Top 50 books including Rosemary SutcliffAt the Skunk & Burning Tires blog, author Ju-osh M. is – by his own admission – “far too old to be seeking the attention and approval of strangers”. Yet – to adapt a phrase of his – there he was, there I was and here you are. He thought “it would be fun” to revisit animated film-maker Hayao Miyazaki’s “fifty favourite children’s books”. (I am not sure of his source; nor do I know if this is in order of preference). As mentioned before on this site, books by Rosemary Sutcliff were amongst the stories Miyazaki loved.

1. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

2. Il Romanzo di Cipollino (The Adventures of the Little Onion)  by Gianni Rodari

3. The Rose and the Ring by William Makepeace Thackeray

4. The Little Bookroom  by Eleanor Farjeon

5. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

6. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

7. Die Nibelungensage (The Treasure of the Nibelungs) by Gustav Schalk

8. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll

9. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

10. A Norwegian Farm  by Marie Hamsun

11. The Humpbacked Horse by Pyotr Pavlovich Yershov

12. Fabre’s Book of Insects by Jean-Henri Casimir Fabre

13. Toui Mukashi no Fushigina Hanashi-Nihon Reiiki by Tsutomu Minakami

14. Ivan the Fool by Leo Tolstoy

15. The Eagle of the Ninth Chronicles (Three books)  by Rosemary Sutcliff

16. Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne  (more…)

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