Growing up in the north of England as I did, every history lesson included some work on the Romans, who had a big presence in our area.

One of the most prominent would be Emporer Hadrian.

Every school year included a school trip to see the wall that he ordered to be built across the northern territory of England, in order to keep out the unruly Scots, who the Romans had failed to be able to conquer.

He became the Roman emporer after the death of Trajan in year 117.

Hadrian was a well travelled emporer, who visited most areas of the empire during his reign.

It would have been around 119 or 120 when he reached Brittania, which at the time was besieged by many rebellions.  At some point he decided against trying to push his armies further north on the island and the wall that bears his name was begun in 122.

He did not stay in Brittania to see the wall built, he would never see the finished product, which took around six years, leaving the country towards the end of 122.

He toured around his empire until the early 130’s when he returned to Rome, his health beginning to fail him.  It was not until 138 when he died though, on the 10th of July of that year (hence my talking about him today!).

Hadrian’s wall was quite an achievement, for the time.  It comprised a fort approximately every mile, of varying sizes.  A Vicus or small town grew up around some of these forts, some bigger than others.

Vindolanda and Chesters are the two best preserved forts on the wall, and make an enjoyable day out with the family.  It was also fun to walk along some lengths of the wall on our school trips, though some parts are quite high.  I believe it is now discouraged to walk along the wall itself, for fear of damaging it, but it is not strictly forbidden!

See, Mrs Marshall, I was listening during history class !!!!


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