Fortifying the Empire: The Wall that Hadrian Built


Expanding across the Island of Great Britian lies a wall that is perhaps not as elegant as the Great Wall of China or as well-known as the Berlin Wall, but a wall that remains one of the greatest surviving testaments to the architectural power of the Roman Empire in Great Britian.  It’s also a remainder of what was the Roman Empire’s need to protect their ever expanding territory from outside threats.  Emperor Hadrian commissioned the wall’s construction in 122 A.D. and it was completed about six years later.  The wall’s main purpose was to protect Roman occupied Britian from outside barbarian threats from areas including Scotland, Egypt and Judea.

Purpose and Decline

Aside from just being a simple wall, Hadrian’s wall was heavily fortified and protected by Roman garrisons, which were housed at forts alongside the wall.  The structure itself stretched 80 miles, reaching both sides of the island and meeting the edges of the Irish and North seas.  It remained in control of the empire until sometime during the 300’s when the constant pressure of outside invasion and attacks finally resulted in it’s abandonment by the empire.  The abandonment of Hadrian’s wall was shortly followed by Roman withdrawal from Great Britian.  A great portion of the wall remains intact today and ranks as one of Great Britian’s most popular ancient attractions.

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