Hadrian’s Wall

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.


12 thoughts on “Hadrian’s Wall

  1. Your’e losing marks for inaccuracy here, Laddie.
    Hadrian’s Wall was not the furthest limits for very long as it was superseded twenty years later with the building of Antonine Wall, between the Firth of Forth and Firth of Clyde, on that even narrower stretch of Britain at just 39 miles. That wasn’t the Roman’s final destination north either, as they had a garrison based up in Perth.

      1. But how do you know they didn’t already have a garrison up in Perth?
        Do you seriously think that they marched up to as far as Tyneside, said “that’s it lads, stop here, build a wall.” ? You believe that, you’ll believe anything.
        Technically they were still building bits onto it, making more access points etc., whilst simultaneously building Antonine.
        If you really want accuracy know that the first stones were laid in AD 118 & 119.

  2. No thanks. I do not need any pedantic silliness. The Romans were active both sides of the wall for considerable distances. It does not alter the fact that Hadrian called the wall, at the time, the limit of Roman jurisdiction.

    1. Pedantic Sillines? Hadrian called it nothing of the kind!
      The wall was built simply as a show of strength and as a reminder that Rome can do anything and anywhere it so chooses. It was just showing off and they even plastered and whitewashed it for maximum effect and could be seen for miles in sunshine.

  3. It was one of several points that you had made, not all of which were in any way accurate.
    The Roman’s didn’t do limitations.
    I’m still looking for this fact by Hadrian as you have claimed.
    This is another classic example of the mongrel education – they take a quick scan over google and recite as master of the subject.

  4. Reading the above, I’m reminded of the maxim that served me as a teacher. Say something nice first and then people are open to any criticisms you make. So … great pictures, Opher, hope you didn’t damage the walls when you took them!

    1. I know. You should see the ones I had to remove – threats and extreme nastiness. I think it’s all largely the same person though. Probably has a big psychological problem.
      As to the wall, there is only the vestiges left. Quite a lot in places but it used to be quite high.

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