The famous Roman emperor Hadrian gave his name to what would become an even more famous wall, a powerful fortification in the north of England that served as protection against the ‘Barbarians’ and extended right up to the Scottish border.
Construction of the wall in the 2nd century AD signified hope for a lasting and secure defense against the invading Celts. Hadrian´s enormous line of defense covered an area between the North Sea coast and the Irish Sea and part of it stretched across Cumbria and Northumberland. The wall was meant to re-establish Roman power and 10,000 soldiers were commanded to protect it.
Originally, the wall was 4˝ metres high and approximately 3 metres wide and its length of around 120 kilometres was a remarkable accomplishment. Even by Roman standards, the establishment of the wall along the empire’s northeastern border was an ambitious plan. Improvements and changes were constantly made during construction work on the seemingly endless fortification. The western section of the mighty wall was originally built with peat that was later replaced by stone.
In spite of intensive military efforts by the Romans, Northern tribes such as the Picts managed to break through the defensive line. To ensure comprehensive defence of the wall, the Roman commanders ordered that a small road be built along it to aid the quick dispersal of their soldiers.
Although various sections of the wall have been excavated, today it passes across the natural landscape of the English countryside, almost as it did during the time of Hadrian.
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