Hadrian’s Wall.

The Roman Wall built by the Emperor Hadrian two thousand years ago continues to impress both scholars and tourists. It stretches for 80 miles across some of the most beautiful scenery in England, and is without equal in Europe. Recently it was granted the distinction of becoming a World Heritage Monument. It is a major tourist attraction. The Romans had once conquered Scotland but they were unwilling to allocate sufficient troops to garrison such a vast area, so they withdrew, and instead marked off their territory with a great wall. To hold such a defensive line required thousands of men in an assortment of forts and supply bases. What is extraordinary is how much of the fortification remains. The Hadrian’s Wall Walk, opened in 2003, finally allowed enthusiasts to trace the course of the entire length. Anyone standing beside even the briefest stretch of wall wants to know the answers to several questions: How did it come to be built, and why? How did it function, and why was it abandoned? This illustrated lecture will answer all these questions, and place the Wall in the context of Britain as a Roman province.