Review published on February 21, 2018.
Hadrian’s Wall and the associated forts are the largest Roman ruins visible in the world. It is 80 miles long and reaches from the Solway Firth on the Irish Sea across hills and dales to the banks of the Tyne on the North Sea. It marked the northern frontier of the Roman Empire. It wasn’t the only wall built to be the northernmost frontier, that honour goes to the Antonine Wall. This was started in 142AD and abandoned around 20 years later when legions were moved back to the more substantial Hadrian’s Wall. Long thought to be a barrier keeping out the Picts and Ancient Britons that lived north of this wall, it turns out to have a much deeper and complicated history.
Adrian Goldsworthy brings us up right up to on the latest hypothesis’ and theories of Hadrian’s Wall, considering how it functioned, how it was built and whether it served a military function or it was just a demonstration of power to the marauding tribes. By drawing on the recent archaeological discoveries, in particular, the details gleaned from the tablets discovered at Vindolanda, he pieces together a vivid picture of how life would be there for a soldier on the furthest outpost from Rome. It is a beautifully produced book, full of maps, photos and images of what we know of life in the UK 2000 years ago; definitely a book for any lover of Roman history.
Paul Cheney 3/3
Hadrian’s Wall by Adrian Goldsworthy
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