The Garrison of Vindolanda
In this season of building walls (Mexico and the US, India and Pakistan, Palestine and Israel) it is always salutary to look at past efforts.
Hadrian’s Wall was begun in 122 AD and extended across Britain from coast to coast between Tyneside and the Solway Firth (all in England – not separating England from Scotland). They chose a narrow bit that was only 76 miles long. The wall was up to ten foot wide and 16 foot high with a big ditch to make it more of an obstacle so it would have presented quite a challenge. It had Forts and Garrisons all along its length. It was the furthest limits of the Roman Empire and separated the Romans from the Barbarian Picts and Celts.
It had a number of functions.
The first was as a statement. It was a display of power and persistence. The Romans were here. They were mighty. They were here to stay and there was no point in trying to get rid of them.
Another was to stop the constant cattle raiding and nuisance raids.
Another was to set up a trade barrier with customs posts to control the exit and entrance.
It must have been quite impressive and had a great psychological impact on the tribes.