This for­mi­da­ble for­ti­fi­ca­tion strad­dles Three english coun­ties and is One Of The most fa­mous ro­man struc­tures Of all Time

History of War - - MUSEUMS & EVENTS -

At 117.5 kilo­me­tres (73 miles) long, Hadrian’s Wall is the largest sur­viv­ing Ro­man artefact in the world and a ma­jor tourist at­trac­tion.

When Em­peror Hadrian came to power in 117 CE he wanted to sep­a­rate his Bri­tish lands from ‘bar­bar­ian’ Cale­do­nia (mod­ern Scot­land) and con­structed a hard bor­der. Over ap­prox­i­mately six years, three le­gions built a for­ti­fied wall, and Hadrian in­spected its progress in 122 AD. The com­pleted struc­ture was an ar­chi­tec­tural won­der.

Hadrian’s Wall in­cluded 80 ‘mile­cas­tles’, ob­ser­va­tion tow­ers and 17 larger forts. It was six me­tres (20 feet) high and some­times three me­tres (ten feet) deep. Such was its en­dur­ing mem­ory that many peo­ple as­sume that it marks the bor­der be­tween Eng­land and Scot­land. How­ever, the wall is lo­cated en­tirely south of the mod­ern bor­der.

Vis­i­tors can still see ten per cent of the orig­i­nal wall, and there are many places to visit. ‘Hadrian’s Wall path’ runs along its en­tire length and is well sign­posted. The best in­tact sec­tion is 17 kilo­me­tres (10.5 miles) be­tween the Ro­man Army Mu­seum near Car­vo­ran and Hous­es­teads Fort. There are also ex­ten­sive re­mains at forts such as Bir­doswald, Ar­beia and Sege­dunum.

The most fa­mous site is Vin­dolanda in Northum­ber­land. This for­mer aux­il­iary fort re­vealed the ‘Vin­dolanda tablets’, which are some of the old­est sur­viv­ing hand­writ­ten doc­u­ments in Bri­tain and give a unique in­sight into ev­ery­day Ro­man life.

Hadrian’s Wall snakes through dra­matic scenery in north­ern Eng­land

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