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Hadrian’s Wall. Josh Unsworth. What is it?. Was the frontier of the Roman Empire. Not just a wall, was a range of defences Was 80 Roman miles long (73 modern miles)

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Hadrian s wall

Hadrian’s Wall

Josh Unsworth

What is it
What is it?

  • Was the frontier of the Roman Empire.

  • Not just a wall, was a range of defences

  • Was 80 Roman miles long (73 modern miles)

  • ‘Hadrian was the first to build a wall, 80 miles long, to separate the Romans and the barbarians’ – Roman biography of Hadrian


  • Hadrian probably ordered the wall to be built in 122 AD, when he visited Britain as part of a tour of the western provinces

  • Construction was nearly all carried out by the three legions of the province, the II, VI and XX

  • Using soldiers was cheap labour as it meant they had to hire very few others

  • Took over six years


  • The wall ran for 80 miles

  • There was a gate every mile, defended by small guard post (milecastle)

  • In between each pair of gates there were two towers for observation

  • Forts were not placed regularly, just wherever possible

How did it work
How did it work?

  • Two separate elements, the wall and the forts

  • The forts were to house soldiers to defend against invasion whilst the wall was for frontier control

  • Barbarians were only allowed into the empire unarmed, under military escort to specified markets

How it effected the locals
How it effected the locals

  • Wall followed the most convenient strategic and geographical line, ignored tribe boundaries and farmlands

  • Evidence of abandoned farm-stead in line of wall

  • Larger military presence in the area

  • Stabilised the region economically

  • Reduced local warfare, small scale cattle raids ect