When a tag from a colophon usurps the place of a title, a word of apology may be in season. In this instance, then, the motive for the choice was a desire to allay at the outset any alarm that might be felt lest the Journal should be caught in the maelstrom of a never-ending controversy. Those who are apprehensive on that score may rest assured that, unless fresh facts of real moment come to light, this will be my last word upon the subject. Indeed, it is with the greatest reluctance that I have intervened now. Thanks to the indulgence of long-suffering editors, my views have already been set out so fully, partly in these pages and partly elsewhere, that I had believed myself free to stand aside and await the verdict of informed opinion. But I was too sanguine. My arguments, as reflected in ‘The Fate of Agricola's Northern Conquests’, are sometimes so grievously distorted and obscured, doubtless through my own failure to state them clearly, that one more effort to be intelligible is imperative. The obligation is all the stronger because my critics announce that they are ‘reserving fuller treatment for another place’; it would be unfair to leave them in any dubiety as to the case they have to meet. Unfortunately one cannot be explicit without some expenditure of words. I will do my best, however, to be economical in that respect and, as an earnest of my good intentions, I will refrain from touching upon the various ‘general grounds’ to which the opening pages of the article that has set my pen in motion are devoted. They are too nebulous for brief debate. I cannot, however, leave unchallenged the attempt to rule out my interpretation of a crucial phrase.