Talk:Hadrian's Wall

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Untitled[edit]

Note: revisions of this article from prior to February 2002 are under Hadrians Wall.

euphemism?[edit]

The article says "The name is also sometimes used as a euphemism for the border between Scotland and England, despite it not following the modern border." Is there any evidence for this? I don't remember hearing it so used, ever, and I wondered what the justification was for this statement. I don't mean to sound hostile, just puzzled. Nevilley

This usage is indeed current and immediately understood in the UK. (Or I've heard it a few times since I moved here a coupla years ago.) I didn't originally insert it into the article, but I did move it to the first para for that reason. - David Gerard 10:32, Feb 12, 2004 (UTC)
Hmm. We may have to agree to differ over this. I certainly don't have the inclination for an edit war! But I must say that I still cannot imagine how this alleged contemporary usage actually works, unless it is being used by people who are simply - ah - wrong. In which case it would need writing up in a different way perhaps. But if you said to me "I'm going North of Hadrian's Wall" I would not hear that you were going to Scotland - I would probably (perhaps unfairly to the west of the country!) assume that you were heading for Northumberland. Are you saying that people actually do use it that way? I've lived in England, north and south, for rather more than a couple of years - well, getting on for fifty actually! - and it just does not have that meaning for me. It is not, in my view of usage, "current and immediately understood". If the article said "It is occasionally used to represent the Anglo-Scottish border by people who have no idea what they are talking about and who also think that whales are fish and the tromba marina is a brass instrument but we are mentioning here that they do this because it has happened once or twice" then I might have more sympathy with it although I don't really think that cataloguing misconceptions is a core role for the wiki. :) Right, I have ranted, I will leave it! Off to find another windmill to tilt at - Nevilley
"I still cannot imagine how this alleged contemporary usage actually works, unless it is being used by people who are simply - ah - wrong."
I think that would be the one - the north starts at Watford Gap or something. I don't have any deep affection for it, but I have heard it used colloquially, and being wrong and stupid never stopped a colloquial usage. Dunno if that's encyclopaedic enough - kill it if you like :-) - David Gerard 17:28, Feb 12, 2004 (UTC)
I've certainly heard "North of Hadrian's Wall" to mean Scotland - usually as a jovial insult, i.e. "the barbarous land to the North" DJ Clayworth 17:38, 12 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Oh well, fair enough. Not worth getting out of one's pram over. :) Nevilley

Still, this is simply wrong (that is, it is not commonly said) and should be corrected, as should the assertion at the end that HW is a general figure for an impassable barrier. I'll edit it unless someone has a good case.John Wheater 10:16, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

I don't care enough about this to put the words back in the article, but it is a reference that is frequently used in the south east of England, and is understood by everyone. I have heard it (and used it) as a mild goad to Scottish colleagues - "you can tell the Wall's fallen down" or " the Wall worked until they invented the aeroplane" are the most common things said. Whether that's common or not I can't say - it could be the overeducated lot that I work with. Elenmirie 19:13, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

On TV I have seen Billy Connolly standing on the Wall pointing to Scotland on the north side and England on the south. The shorthand notion that the Wall in some sense divides England and Scotland is more or less universal in the south of England

Bandalore (talk) 05:54, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

For what it is worth, I'm from Northumberland (north of the wall) and it is indeed a general held perception in these parts that the wall is the border (albeit symbolic)between England and Scotland. I've heard it said countless times that people consider themselves Scots as they were born north of the wall. In my opinion it is a very common held belief that the wall is the border and although it may not be technically correct it is spritually in the hearts of most Northumbrians! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 90.211.251.121 (talk) 22:28, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

Past tense[edit]

Why is so much of this article in the past tense? - it has a lot of statements like "Hadrian's Wall was ..." and "H's W ran ..." I know that some of them are correct (it was built etc) but surely others are wrong given that it still (mostly) is, it still (mostly) runs etc etc? Nevilley 23:12, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Hadrian's Wall (as it was originally built), no longer exists. Only ruins of it exist today. It's a mere shadow of its former impressiveness.

Q&A: Questions and Answers[edit]

I've got a couple of questions, on the risk of sounding stupid. But could someon indulge me? --Okay: you're stupid. (Just kidding).

Q: How do you defend a wall with cavalry? There doesn't appear to be any logic in this, the way I see it Cavalry is an offensive unit not much good at defence. --(By the way, "defence" means the removal of fences).

A: A good offense is a good defense. The calvary travels quickly to reinforce the troops at any location on the Wall that needs them (there were signal towers at regular intervals along its length). The calvary (armed with lances) could also ride out and meet any force that was assaulting the wall, or (without lances) chase down and capture or kill anyone trying to climb over the wall.

Q: I caught the Hollywood film "Arthur" the other day, and their answer seemed a bit idiotic. They had the gates opened to let the Saxons (?!?) in, and then assaulting them from the flanks. This tactic defeats the purpose of a wall altogether, doesn't it?

A: Yes, it does. Even more idiotic is an army with naval transport that disembarks on the wrong side of the Wall. Such an army would have landed on beaches south of the Wall, not north of it. But because they were too stupid to think of this, in the spirit of fair play, Arthur let them through.  :-) For a more in-depth critique of the logical flaws of the movie, see King Arthur (movie).

Q: How did the Picts ever get past the Wall? To me Hadrian's Wall seems like a considerable obstacle. But the Picts, none the less, broke through it. How?

A: Line defenses are stretched out. It is usually more effective to concentrate troops in centralized locations, to strike out in retaliative force with a superior army than to spread your defenses thinly over a long line. The offensive strategy to counter the long line defense is to concentrate attack at a single point along the line (or in large-scale conflicts, at several points simultaneously). For an example of this, see the Atlantic Wall and Omaha Beach.

--Questions by Tokle 16:33, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Forget about the Picts. They lived hundreds of miles away and never ventured anywhere near this wall! The Picts never broke through the wall because they were never in that part of the country! Don't take your history from Hollywood!

TO CONTRADICT THE ABOVE

The Picts did indeed storm the walls. This is historical fact. Their attacks were unremitting. At one point they not only overran the Antonine wall but also Hadrian's wall to the south of it, killing the Roman commanders. They then invaded Britain as far south as London. This is referred to in classical writings, not Hollywood.

ThormodRaudhi (talk) 20:47, 10 July 2009 (UTC)Thormod.

What's the evidence? Or is this just more pseudo-nationlist pish? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 90.204.39.48 (talk) 19:07, 2 October 2009 (UTC)



  • IIRC, wasn't the wall 'closed' after the invasion in the 370's or something? The Picts muct have broken down the gates. Dude, Arthur is Hollywood, not Historic. They see history like a constellation. Ya, it kinda looks like something, but it would be better if it was this! - Cor --The Hollywood phrase based on real events is used very loosely. Such movies have the trappings of history, but are usually just fictional stories with an historical theme.

A1b: The wall would still have worked because it forces the enemy to funnel through a specific area so you can plan accordingly. Without the wall they would have had to made broader plans with more variables. --The wall was more of a symbol than anything else. And a highly intimidating one. Would you want to attack an Empire powerful enough to erect a wall along an entire border? Surely, such an empire could send armies to retaliate if you attacked their wall. Fear of reprisal alone would be a major factor in an enemy's reasoning.

A2: The wall looks low enough to jump over... I dont see how anyone could have found this difficult to overcome with some ramps and a bit of manpower. Especially considering the huge seige engines that have been made to get over Castle walls. --The current Wall is in ruins. The original Wall stood 5 to 6 meters tall (15 to 20 feet). Troops with ladders and ropes could have climbed over it easily. However, would you really want to? The psychological impact must have been substantial. Though, it may amuse you to learn that Hadrian may have ordered the Wall built to keep his troops occupied (and thereby reduce dissention in the ranks) as much as for any other reason.

Following up slightly, the wall wasn't all the defense, it is on a hill and in front of a ditch, with a road running directly behind it. The hill is untraversable in many places, and the distance of sight is large. --Aratheking 17:49, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

The wall was abandoned by Rome at the same times as everything else and we know from the historical record that the Brits started fighting each other soon afterwards. Wall is abandoned (got Saxon's to worry about in the fertile south and all that) the Picts march stright in. Tobias1 15:17, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

The Picts did not march straight in. There were never at any time any Picts within a hundred miles of the wall. Don't take your history from Hollywood.

And don't take your history from SNP propagandists like ThormodRaudhi.

Distracting blank spaces[edit]

Formatting that encases the framed table of contents in text, in just the way a framed map or image is enclosed within the text, is now available: {{TOCleft}} in the HTML does the job.

Blank space opposite the ToC, besides being unsightly and distracting, suggests that there is a major break in the continuity of the text, which may not be the case. Blanks in page layout are voids and they have meanings to the experienced reader. The space betweeen paragraphs marks a brief pause between separate blocks of thought. A deeper space, in a well-printed text, signifies a more complete shift in thought: note the spaces that separate sub-headings in Wikipedia articles.

A handful of thoughtless and aggressive Wikipedians revert the "TOCleft" format at will. A particularly aggressive de-formatter is User:Ed g2s

The reader may want to compare versions at the Page history. --Wetman 20:21, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

Map of the Wall[edit]

Beland requested a map for this article on Wikiproject Maps so I whipped up a little something. The map isn't very detailed, but I'll try to refine it a bit over the next few days. --NormanEinstein 21:06, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

Please, where is the map?

Please?

Thank You.

hopiakuta ; [[ <nowiki> </nowiki> { [[%c2%a1]] [[%c2%bf]] [[ %7e%7e%7e%7e ]] } ;]] 05:36, 27 October 2006 (UTC)


Hadrian's Dyke?[edit]

According to Dykes (surname), "Hadrian's Wall, also referred to in some texts as Hadrian's Dyke". I don't know whether that refers to dyke as in the vallum (ie, ditch) or dyke as in Offa's (ie, wall). Anyone come across this name before? A Google search on the term "Hadrian's Dyke" throws up three quotations: two from From Ritual to Romance and one from a poem. Telsa 08:03, 5 October 2005 (UTC)

Was Hadrian's Wall influenced by the Great Wall of China?[edit]

Some Chinese academics living in the PRC claim that cross-cultural communications through the Silk Road enabled Romans to know the concept of building a defensive wall against invading people whom you can't subdue. The hypothesis is based on the fact that the mini Great Walls was first built during the Warring States era by the feuding states, and when Qin unified China it unified the various defensive walls. It was long after that the Silk Route opened during the Western Han dynasty, and by the time the Hadrian's Wall was built it was already Eastern Han dynasty in China in which the Silk Route was already well-established.

Are there non-Chinese scholarly support to this hypothesis? --JNZ 07:14, 21 May 2006 (UTC)


Answer: The building of defensive walls is actually much older than the Great Wall. An early example can be found in 3rd millenium BC Mesopotamia, whereas the earliest parts of the Great Wall date back to the 7th century BC. Similar problems with raiding nomads lead everywhere to similar solutions.

See middle section of the thread:

http://www.romanarmy.com/rat/viewtopic.php?t=8822&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=100

Some questions unanswered by the article:[edit]

  • The article mentions there were three walls in Great Britain, and the middle one was Hadrian's Wall. The Antonine Wall is mentioned and linked. The third wall was the from the Firth of Clyde to the Firth of Forth? Isn't that the same location as the Antonine Wall? What was the name of the third wall, and could it be added to the map?
Have a look at Gask Ridge. Sammy_r (talk) 11:09, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
  • How much of Hadrian's Wall is still standing?
  • What is the total length of the remaining fragments?
  • Are there any full-height sections left? No there arn't although I beleive a short stretch was constructed at vindolanda as part of the exhibits
The highest standing section is at Hare Hill (maybe 3 - 4 metres). Though this is known to be a rebuild under John Clayton, the core is pretty high here, which is often an indicator as to the height before rebuild. Hare Hill is also the most westerly extant part.
    • Where are they?
The best section is between Sewingshield Crags and Cawfields Quarry, though the stretch running east from Walltown Quarry is pretty good, and also Gilsland up to Birdoswald. Other than that, there are only short stretches. Wallsend, Hedon on the Wall, Planetrees and Brunton, Black Carts, Hare Hill, etc. It's rarely higher than chest high. Sammy_r (talk) 11:09, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
  • About what percentage of the Wall's construction materials are still in place? not much
    • Or, how much of the wall's materials have been removed from it? most
  • How do the ruins compare to the original? Poorly. To get a good feel, there are reconstructions at Wallsend and Vindolanda, and a sort of full scale model in Birdoswald museum. Sammy_r (talk) 11:09, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Concerning the replica built for the movie King Arthur:

  • How big was the replica? 1 km long
  • Was the section built at full scale?
  • Was it of authentic design? No one is really sure what the original design of HW was. How high was it? Did it have battlements? A walkway? Was it rendered or left bare? We can only speculate on these questions, and arguments rage to this day. Sammy_r (talk) 11:09, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Was it left in place after the movie was finished? That is, is it still there for tourists to visit?
  • Where is/was it located in relation to the actual Hadrian's Wall? In a field in County Clare, Ireland. Hadrian's Wall is in Northern England.

Great Wall of China[edit]

I deleted the following comment: ..."quite short in comparison to the Great Wall of China", because a) it is out of context b) the Great Wall of China was worked on for more than 2000 years and thus does not constitute a single line of defence, but a row of interrelated defensive walls, erected by different dynasties, and not rarely hundreds of miles apart. Whereas the Hadrian's Wall constitutes a single work project.

Actually, as a side-note the combined Roman defensive system (England, Rhine, Danube, Arabian desert, North Africa) outdid the contemporary Chinese Han walls both in quantity and quality. It is just that people are constantly confusing the great Ming Wall (16th century AD) with earlier Chinese precursors which were ordinarily earth and reed rampart affairs with rare sections of dry stone wall in between.

  • Well Hadrian's wall could have been longer, but they ran into the sea at both ends and had to stop :) Anjouli 13:03, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

The Dog[edit]

The picture of Hadrian's wall is in need of a picture without a dog on it. Perhaps there is some other way to show scale that is more encyclopedic? 70.177.68.209 23:46, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Map?[edit]

Someone, above, mentions a map.

Please, map, please.

hopiakuta ; [[ <nowiki> </nowiki> { [[%c2%a1]] [[%c2%bf]] [[ %7e%7e%7e%7e ]] } ;]] 05:36, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Oh, please,...

It should be a map for those of us who have never visited Europe; therefore, it should encompass the entire island. I dont think that there should be A dog in the pictures it distract's you when you're reshuring. thanks for reading full respect to you.

Thank You.

hopiakuta ; [[ <nowiki> </nowiki> { [[%c2%a1]] [[%c2%bf]] [[ %7e%7e%7e%7e ]] } ;]] 05:43, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

It should include Carvoran, Vindolanda.

hopiakuta ; [[ <nowiki> </nowiki> { [[%c2%a1]] [[%c2%bf]] [[ %7e%7e%7e%7e ]] } ;]] 05:48, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

I think the map needs to have at least Gask Ridge added to it for comparison too - PocklingtonDan 10:14, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Garrison[edit]

I have altered the section to remove the reference to the suppression of the tribes by Septimius Severus as the reason for the frontier being peaceful for most of the 3rd century, since this is simply propagating common but unsubstantiated speculation. According to Cassius Dio the Romans incurred significant losses in these campaigns. Archaeology shows Vondolanda was razed to the ground. The "tysilio" chronicle also indicates that Roman losses were the reason for the peace holding - it actually states that the Romans said to the resident of Britannia that they would not mount another similar expedition as it was too expensive. It wasn't the tribes that were chastened! Pclive 23:31, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

The real truth about Hadrian's Wall[edit]

One of the great myths about Hadrian's Wall is that it was built to keep the Picts from invading. The reality is much more mundane - the wall was primarily built as a way of splitting the Northern British tribes from each other as well as acting as a customs control to raise taxes.

Hadrian used the wall as a way stabilizing northern Britannia, which had been a hotbed of rebellion and unrest for decades. Two of the main British tribes, the Brigantes and the Selgovae, occupied the region. Hadrian basically used the old Roman policy of "divide and rule." His wall split the Brigantes from the Selgovae and pacified the troublesome tribes.

If you examine the associated defences of the wall you can see this clearly. To the North lies a single ditch in front of the wall. To the south a series of mounds and ditches. If the wall was built to prevent an assualt by the Picts (who by the way lived nowhere near the wall but much further north) then why build such defences to the south.


TO CONTRADICT THE ABOVE:

The Picts are attested as having continuously attacked the Roman walls and having succeeded in storming both to invade Britannia as far south as London. This is fact. The walls did not stabilise Northern Britain nor did they pacify the tribes. Such an assertion is utter nonsense.

ThormodRaudhi (talk) 20:13, 10 July 2009 (UTC)Thormod.

Definition of vallum[edit]

vallum n a rampart, a wall of sods, earth, or other material, esp of that thrown up from a ditch. (Chambers dictionary, 9th ed). Therefore the current usage of vallum to mean the fortifications south of the stonework is corect in this context. – Tivedshambo (talk) 16:28, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

Not sure I agree. Vallum can certainly be used to describe the individual ramparts, but it is incorrect to use Vallum to describe the whole defensive system (two ramparts, two berms, and a broad ditch). Was it Bede that first used Vallum in that context? Sammy_r (talk) 09:30, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Added Link[edit]

I have added the link 'Great Wall of China' naturally because the Great Wall article itself has a link to Hadrian's wall. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Facial (talkcontribs) 05:48, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

Fiction section - proposed deletion[edit]

I propose that the In fiction section be removed from this article. It consists mainly of unreferenced material, or little relevance, which detracts from the rest of the article. Alternatively it could be moved to a new article, e.g. Hadrian's Wall in fiction. Any comments? – Tivedshambo (talk) 15:39, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

In the absense of any dissent, I've removed this section as WP:FANCRUFT – Tivedshambo (talk) 07:35, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
Seems like the right thing to do. :) Jmlk17 11:31, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

COGGABATA[edit]

Minor but I think the following statement is indicating something that is probably not accurate.

Here we have Bowness (MAIS), followed by what must be the correct name for Drumburgh-by-Sands (COGGABATA) until now known only as CONGAVATA from the late Roman document, the Notitia Dignitatum.

This implies that COGGABATA was the correct name and CONGAVATA was a mispelling or misinterpretation of the name. Although I am not an expert on Britain just from a knowledge of the development Latin I would say it is probably the other way around. First, in Vulgar Latin in many parts of the empire it was common for the letter V to be mispronounced as B (this fact inspired the famous pun about the Spaniards

Beati Hispani quibus vivere bibere est

). Second, if you look at Spanish and Italian (two languages that are particularly similar to Vulgar Latin of the late Empire) it was common for consonant combinations such as NG to change to drop one of those consonants (in this case the N more than the G). Additionally in Italian it was common to preserve the pair in writing by repeating the remaining consonant. Granted it is possible that that the local name was actually COGGABATA and the Latinized version of this was CONGAVATA but that hypothesis seems to me less likely.

--Mcorazao 16:36, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

This whole section needs cleaning up - it's rather "chatty" in tone (it shouldn't use first/third person words like "we"), and seems to be Original research. I've got confirmation about Rigore (see [1]), but the rest needs to be confirmed and cleaned up. – Tivedshambo (talk) 17:49, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
In my opinion, neither of them may be a 'misinterpretation'. They may just be common spelling variants for the same word, reflecting that intervocalic -b- and -v- have merged into the same sound in (Vulgar) Latin by this period (i.e. the third century and later). The combination -gg- could be just an alternative spelling for -ng- when compared to the practice in Greek (e.g. aggelos, transliterated to Latin as angelus). I am not sure to what extent this principle can be applied to the case at hand, but I think it is an interesting possibility. Iblardi (talk) 16:53, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

John Clayton and Hadrian's Wall[edit]

I'll put this same message on the talk pages of three articles: Hadrian's Wall Path, Hadrian's Wall and John Clayton (Newcastle).

I was looking at the article about the Path, and found the section on John Clayton, which isn't really about the path, being connected with the preservation and study of the wall. I looked at the article on the Wall, which mentioned very little about it post-Hadrian. I looked for text about John Clayton, and managed to convince myself that the John Clayton (Newcastle) is the antiquarian as well as town clerk, though it wasn't mentioned on his page!

I've moved the "John Clayton" section from Path to Wall (untouched but for making a lot more links in it and correcting the artist's name in the image), and added a mention of the antiquarian stuff to the JC(N) article, but I think there probably needs to be a lot more about this aspect of his life in that article. No time to take it further now, and not many sources to quote (he isn't in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography), but there's a piece here [[2]] which confirms his importance (and, by matching death date, seems to confirm that he's the right John C and not a different generation).

I'll try and get back to this some time, but (a) I hope I haven't trodden on any toes and (b) I'll be delighted if someone else picks this up and helps to sort out the info about John Clayton into the right article. PamD (talk) 12:29, 26 November 2007 (UTC)


John Clayton was indeed the long-lived clerk of Newcastle and the preserver of Chesters etc. His page seems to make that very clear as well. I've written a bit more about him at www.myersnorth.co.uk


Bandalore (talk) 06:24, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Scotts got no boats?[edit]

What I'm wondering is that what's the wall good for since Solway Firth or Firth of Fort could be crossed by boat. I think it should be answered someway. Now I have to guess Scottish were boatless.

Wikinist (talk) 10:04, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

It DOES rather "up the ante" to have ANY kind of barrier. So we'd be talking about reduced PROBABILITY of incursions from the Pictae. Martin Packer (talk) 11:46, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

The southern coast of the Solway Firth was well watched and garrisoned with several forts and watchtowers. In any event, as somebody said above, the wall was not primarily defensive. It was mostly a border, a taxation point and a demonstration of the grandeur and power of Rome. Oh, and it's not "Scotts", it's "Scots", but that doesn't matter because in that period of history the term is meaningless - the Scots arrived on the scene later. Lianachan (talk) 20:39, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

The Scots lived in Ireland until the early sixth century so the Romans never encountered them on the northern frontier.

Bandalore (talk) 06:43, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

The Scots and Picts had boats. The Senchus Fir nAlban (History of the Men of Alba) mentions the strength of each territory by the amount of oarsmen it could raise. The boats were currachs, hide-bound streamlined vessels that could move swiftly across water, often camouflaged to blend in. These were used to raid southern Britain. After the Roman period the Pictish King Brude I sailed with a fleet to punish enemies in the Orkneys. To sail Orkney waters one has to be skillful. As the Orkneys were Pictish before the Norse, the inhabitants would have to have been more than able seamen. After the arrival of the Norse, war vessels became low slung galleys after the viking model. In short, the Scots and Picts had naval forces and used them.

ThormodRaudhi (talk) 20:33, 10 July 2009 (UTC)Thormod.

Why build a giant wall at all?[edit]

Christ, they conquered Europe, most of Britian, and all they had to do was march into a TINY TINY piece in the north of Britain. Was it really so hard? Did they really have to wall off a tiny pice of land to make it a virtual island?

Exactly. Previous comments about these walls being customs posts and monuments to grandeur do not at all ring true. These walls were built to defend against an implacable enemy that could not be conquered. If it could, there would have been no need for such fortifications.

ThormodRaudhi (talk) 20:20, 10 July 2009 (UTC)Thormod.


-G —Preceding unsigned comment added by 134.117.158.83 (talk) 02:42, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

I think they probably decided it was more trouble than it was worth. Pretty cold place and not much worth taking. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 212.219.90.14 (talk) 09:54, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Crap. They tried often and hard enough. Lianachan (talk) 23:44, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Well said. The Roman general Agricola c AD 90, wanted to conquer the whole mainland, so as not to have a frontier, but this proved impractical. A hundred years after Hadrian, the Emperor Septimius Severus with his two sons (future emperors) was waging a war of genocide in Scotland c 209-11 AD (in winter too) but died in York and a peace was arranged.

The Romans were in lowland and coastal Scotland for years before Hadrian devised his wall and for decades after it. It might have been chilly, but was Iraq or Morocco any better - temperatures over 100 and no refrigeration? Anyway it was warmer in Britain in those days; figs grew, and grapes. Nice beaches; a cushy posting.

It should be mentioned that the wall itself had some significance without it being a brilliant strategic defense mechanism. Walls separated Romans from the Barbarians. The civilized world was on one side and the wilds were on the other. The wall was in part just to make Romans feel safe if not actually be safe User:tomstrange —Preceding undated comment added 15:30, 31 August 2010 (UTC).


Bandalore (talk) 06:32, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Location of the Wall[edit]

The article is vague as to the actual location of the wall. It should specifically state that it is in Northumberland. Also, isn't a portion of the wall in (or was in) modern-day Cumbria as well?—Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.149.185.189 (talkcontribs) 09:23, 1 February 2008

Third Of Four?[edit]

This bit doesn't make much sense. There were four yet we list three, for example. Martin Packer (talk) 17:45, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

This bit doesn't make much sense. There were four yet we list three, for example. Martin Packer (talk) 17:45, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

This is pure fantasy. There were only ever two. The first chapter is absolute nonsense since it talks about two totally non existent walls and raids by the Picts, who lived hundreds of miles away and never ventured into this territory. Unless the writer knows something that no historian or local does. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.40.77.171 (talk) 09:16, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Antonine Wall[edit]

The Antonine Wall, begun shortly after Hadrian's death by the succeeding emperor, Antoninus Pius, ran from the Forth to the Clyde and was manned for some three decades. It has now been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, like Hadrian's Wall a hundred miles to the south.


Bandalore (talk) 01:28, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Hadrian's Wall is named after...?[edit]

Amazingly it is not mentioned anywhere in the opening paragraph that the wall is named after the Roman Emperor Hadrian. This should be rectified but for whatever reason I am unable to modify the page. Perhaps someone with access can make the appropriate changes. Thank you. - Eru9

A new link on the Hadrian's Wall page[edit]

{{editsemiprotected}}a useful website for exploring Hadrian's Wall can be found at www.hadrianswall-northumberland.com. There's an interactive map showing where the best sections are as well as how to get there.NorthTour (talk) 08:53, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

This is a commercial site, and may not be linked. Carl.bunderson (talk) 08:15, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
Carl, i find it odd you think this is a commercial site when www.hadrians-wall.org has many of the same features including accommodation booking and tour guide details. Should this be removed as well, or does the use of .org in the domain name save it? I welcome a response on this issue as i am a tour guide listed on both and would love to know why one is commercial and one isn't? Neither charge me to be listed on their site, and i certainly value both as far better sources of information on the sections of Hadrian's Wall than some of the other sites listed.NorthTour (talk) 11:48, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
I hadn't looked at the existing sites on the page, just the one you suggested. In light of your response, I've cleaned the EL section of all questionable links. hadrians-wall.org was among those I removed. The only way it should remain is if it is the 'official site' of the Wall. But since we have the UNESCO site, I think that suffices. Carl.bunderson (talk) 20:12, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
X mark.svg Not done See Wikipedia:External links--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 18:23, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Route[edit]

The A69 and B6318 roads follow the course of the wall as it starts in Newcastle upon Tyne to Carlisle, then on round the northern coast of Cumbria.

this is not correct the A69 starts in newcastle and runs to carlisle . See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A69_road . the wall carries o to Bowness and then round the coast but the road doesn't

The wall runs through Northumberland and then crosses into Cumbria at Gilsland. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Grolma (talkcontribs) 21:07, 14 September 2008 (UTC)

How long it took to build[edit]

Before the page was part-protected because of vandalism someone changed the number of years it took for the wall to be built from eight years to four. It was then changed to six which is what it currently reads. The reference is to a non-online resource -- do we know that six years is correct? Gavinayling (talk) 22:10, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Agricola's Ditch[edit]

I see that the Construction section of the article mentions that the wall replaced Agricola's Ditch, and there is a link to an article on this ditch. I have checked various sources and can find no reference to this ditch apart from one website on which the Agricola Ditch article seems to have been based. The website does not provide any evidence supporting the existence of this ditch. Does anyone know anything about Agricola's Ditch? Did it really exist? It seems a bit dubious to me. Dposte46 (talk) 08:58, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

Three walls[edit]

The opening paragraph is confusing or wrong. It distinguishes the Antonine wall from the wall that goes from Clyde to Forth, but that is the Antonine wall. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.42.232.199 (talk) 12:09, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

"So much to do - so little time to do it"[edit]

I've been watching changes to this article for several years, and there's so much needs amendment and clarification, it's difficult to know where to start - however, let's just start at the beginning.

INTRODUCTION

"it was the middle of three such fortifications built across Great Britain, the first being from the River Clyde to the River Forth under Gnaeus Julius Agricola and the last the Antonine Wall"

This is nonsense - Hadrian's Wall is NOT situated between the Clyde/Forth and the Antonine Wall (these two are the same). references to THREE fortifications should be altered. Some time back, the other two were listed as the Antonine Wall, and the Gask Ridge system, this last not being a defensive system at all.

"All were built to prevent raids on Roman Britain by the Pictish tribes"

The Wall split the territory of the Brigantes tribe in two.The Picts were far to the north - the Antonine Wall was built as a defence aginst the Picts. Why are the Picts referred to as "ancient"? They were no more ancient than the Romans or the Brigantes.

"The wall marked the northern limes in Britain"

I thought it was the "middle of three"? (LOL)

DIMENSIONS

The photograph purporting to show the Wall near Greenhead actually shows the Wall just east of milecastle 42 - Cawfields, which can be seen in the left middle distance with the car park at Cawfields quarry just above it. Greenhead is some 4 miles away beyond the trees in the far distance. There is no well-preserved milecastle or wall-section near Greenhead, and no Greenhead Lough anywhere along the wall.

The Dimensions section is somewhat confusing, and conflicts with the more detailed Construction section.

"East of River Irthing the wall was made from squared stone" - no, it was built from squared stone with a rubble core.

"west of the river the wall was made from turf" - initially it was, but it was later rebuilt in sandstone.

"The central section" - the preceding sentences describe TWO sections, east and west of the river Irthing, which therefore cover the entire length. This is a survivor from a year or so ago, when this section correctly described two sections for the initial materials used, and a simplified three when describing the width and height. Far better to outline the dimensions and materials as eastern section (Wallsend to South Tyne), central section (South Tyne to Irthing) and western turf section (Irthing to Solway Firth). Needs rewriting and simplifying.

The width is given as 3m (9.7 feet) rather than 10 feet. This is a case of "double conversion" - pre-metrication, all the Wall's dimensions were quoted in feet "10 feet" has been converted to "3m" and then back to "9.7 feet" due to rounding errors. In fact 10 feet is slightly more than 3m, and 3m converts to 9.8 feet. Apart from that, I challenge anyone to find a tape measure with units of .1 feet. However, this is not central to the issues here.

The height is only likely to have been as much as 6 metres if there was a wallwalk and a parapet. There is no direct evidence for either. A stepped-down section at Willowford bridge suggests a height of around 4 metres, and a projection based on stone steps at milecastle 48 (Gilsland) suggests 4.5 metres to the top of the milecastle wall. This is not necessarily the same as the height of the Wall itself.

In describing the Wall's various dimensions - "This does not include the wall's ditches, berms, and forts" - of course it doesn't, it's describing the WALL. Also there was only ONE ditch, and ONE berm.

The A69 and B6318 roads extend only as far as Carlisle, not to the Solway Firth.

"The wall would have made cattle-raiding across the frontier extremely difficult" - it certainly would - I'm trying to visualise a Brigantian (not Pictish!) band struggling to lift cattle over the Wall at night.


CONSTRUCTION

"taking about 20 weeks to build a wooden wall from coast to coast" - a newspaper article about the theories of an amateur archaeologist is hardly an adequate citation for a major revision to the generally accepted construction sequence of the Wall. His theories are at best questionable and at worst misguided.

"The wall in the east follows the outcrop of a hard, resistant igneous diabase rock escarpment, known as the Whin Sill." - part of it does, the easternmost section doesn't. The outcrop IS an escarpment.

"The wall incorporated Agricola's Ditch" - the existance of this is at least arguable, but I'll pass it by.

"The initial plan called for a ditch and wall with eighty small gated milecastle fortlets" - it did not, a following paragraph makes it clear that the wall was extended east of Newcastle some years later. It was only at this stage that the wall extended for eighty Roman miles and incorporated eighty milecastles. A fortlet is already small, and they must have been gated, otherwise access would have been tricky.

"Local limestone was used in the construction, except for the section to the west of Irthing where turf was used instead, as there were no useful outcrops nearby". Although much quoted, this is speculation. The western section was later rebuilt in sandstone, which was readily available, and the turrets in this section were built in stone from the outset. Housesteads fort wall was built in sandstone quarried nearby, showing that the builders used whatever was suitable and locally available The more likely explanation is that there was a need to complete the wall quickly, and the traditional turf construction method was resorted to. It's just as possible that the section west of the Irthing was planned to be built in turf from the outset, and was in fact built first. It may be no coincidence that the largest and most powerful garrison on the wall was in the west - the milliary cavalry Ala at Stanwix, N of Carlisle,

"Milecastles in this area were also built from timber and earth rather than stone" - timber and TURF.

"The Broad Wall was..." - we haven't been told what the "Broad Wall" is yet, nor the Narrow Wall, come to that. Another inconsistency introduced by careless editing.

"The milecastles and turrets....All were about 493 metres (539 yards) apart and measured 4.27 square metres (46.0 square feet) internally".The milecastles were obviously much larger, around 18 metres square.. The "about 493 metres" sounds rather too precise. Spacing varied, to suit the terrain. A better phrasing would be "They were spaced at one-third of a Roman mile, about 500 metres (540 yards) apart".

"each holding between 500 and 1,000 auxiliary troops" - EACH wouldn't have held between 500 and 1000 - that would mean they were ALL capable of holding the larger number. In fact, all but two would have held around 500 or less.

"the wall west of the Irthing was rebuilt in sandstone to basically the same dimensions as the limestone section to the east." - what dimensions? The preceding sections/paragraphs spend no little space describing the variety of heights and widths east of the Irthing.

The photograph to the right of this section is captioned "Roman fort at Corstopitum" - earlier text refers to Coria (Corbridge), Coria now being the accepted Roman name.

GARRISON

"while cavalry units of 1,000 troops were stationed at either end" - a single large cavalry troop (Ala) was stationed at Stanwix near Carlisle, which is not at the western end of the wall, and there is no evidence for a similar unit elsewhere. No Roman province is known to have had more than one such unit.

AFTER HADRIAN

Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica 1.5 is now taken to refer to the Antonine Wall, which was repaired by Severus. Bede makes it clear he's describing a turf wall, not one of stone. It's HE 1.12 which refers to Hadrian's Wall: "they built a strong stone wall from sea to sea".

RUDYARD KIPLING

"a Roman legioner"

"picts and vikings" - Those fictional picts again - worse the vikings have a foot in the door too! I don't see the Brigantes allowing tom-dick-and-harry through their territory to have a poke at the Wall.

ROMAN-PERIOD NAMES

"vallum is applied to the ditch and berm dug by the Roman army just south of the wall"

You don't dig a berm, and the vallum had two berms and two ramparts.

Rambler24 (talk) 15:29, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

I've checked out most of the citations, and quite a number disagree with the statements in this article. For example "All were built to prevent raids on Roman Britain by the Pictish tribes" - the cited article makes it clear that the Picts were located north of the Forth/Clyde line. A number of contributors here have complained about the reference to the Picts. The tribes immediately north of the Wall were NOT Picts.

The article on Gnaeus Julius Agricola makes it clear he built a series of forts, not a fortification. If he built the forts on the Forth/Clyde line, this must have been the precursor of the Antonine Wall, and there's evidence to suggest a parallel with Hadrian's wall supplanting the Stanegate road and forts. That makes two fortifications, not three. Rambler24 (talk) 19:40, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Update - I've removed the reference to "wooden wall" in the Construction section. The contributor called it "an interesting theory". His citation was a newspaper article.

I've also removed parts of the heading section where the citations are to articles which are themselves improperly cited and/or whose references are irrelevant or insufficient. For example, the reference to Gnaeus Julius Agricola and his "fortification", as I outlined above, and the reference to "Pictish raids". The result needed some tidying up which I've done. Rambler24 (talk) 23:19, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Roman-period names[edit]

The only ancient source for its provenance is the Augustan History. No sources survive to confirm what the wall was called in antiquity, and no historical literary source gives it a name. However, the discovery of a small enamelled bronze Roman cup in Staffordshire in 2003 has provided a clue"

The following text however goes on to discuss the names of some of the forts at the western end of the wall. There's nothing about the name that the wall was known by in antiquity. The second sentence is tautology - the first and second phrases are saying the same thing. The "clue" mentioned next is not identified or elaborated on in the following interesting but irrelevant discussion about the names of some of the forts at the western end of the Wall. There are two sources for the name of the fort at Drumburgh-by-Sands, as is mentioned - why should one name be supplanted by another if there is no other evidence to support the change?

Apart from that, I can find no other source for this particular interpretation of the words inscribed on the "Staffordshire Moorlands Patera" - most of this appears to be original research, and is uncited. The "Unreferenced section" tag has been there since June 2008. I shall await comment, and then prune the section down to the list of forts. Rambler24 (talk) 10:27, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

My main objection is that this section contains information that is only borderline encyclopedic (notwithstanding that I read it with great interest, being fascinated by language, etymology, and the like), and quite possibly original research. I would suggest that the section is either removed or reduced to an encyclopedic minimum. Possibly, the discussion can be put on an external webpage, and linked to from this article? 88.77.144.186 (talk) 05:30, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

FYI: The Info in this section concerning the Staffordshire Moorlands Pan (Cup) is correct and follows almost exactly the discussion in the book "Hadrian's Wall 1999-2009: Summary Of Excavation and Research" published by the Archaeological societies of Cumberland/Newcastle. It's still a very 'iffy' discussion: i.e. there is uncertainty as to whether the words Vali Aeli should go together, or whether it should be Aeli Draconis. However what's stated in this section is the current state of research and academic opinion on the name of the wall in antiquity (or at least hadrian's reign): that the wall was titled Vallum Aelium in antiquity, based on comparisons with other contemporary names like the Pons Aelius and Aelia Capitolina, as well as the appearance of the names of several of the known wall forts before the words Vali Aeli. I would leave it as it's pretty much the most accurate portion of the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.23.53.168 (talk) 23:22, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

demarcated boundary?[edit]

"a readily defended fortification which clearly defined the northern frontier (limes) of the Roman Empire in Britain (Britannia)"

I'm not sure this is the best way to describe the wall, it implies that Hadrian's wall was a clearly delineated border. This doesn't fit with the Roman conception of imperium, nor does it fit with archaeological evidence which shows Roman settlements in front of the wall.

It doesn't imply it; it states it. I don't know how more clearly delineated you can get in this context than a continuous stone wall with massive ditch defended by milecastles, turrets and forts. There were settlements, roads and outpost forts north of the wall, that's well known. What that evidence demonstrates is that the wall was NOT intended as an uncrossable barrier, as does the "gate every mile." provided by milecastles and forts. We'll never know for sure what was in the minds of the governor and emperor when the wall was planned. We can just make an educated guess based on the evidence we have, and our understanding (possibly erroneous) of "the Roman way" and romanitas. Rambler24 (talk) 19:39, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Broad Wall[edit]

Searching "broad wall" on wikipedia directs here. confusing, since there is also the Broad Wall (Jerusalem) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Broad Wall (talkcontribs) 00:44, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

Does the reference to Broad Wall even belong here? There are many long walls in the world, seems a bit inappropriate to mention it -- it looks like a bit of self-promotion on the part of some locale. KRJ114.77.31.154 (talk) 19:44, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Historia Ecclesiastica 1.5 reference, After Hadrian section[edit]

We have claims that when Bede found the muck and timber wall made for Septimius Severus, which Bede describes as different to a stone wall, a wall being stone and a rampart being made of earthy sod and timber, he was actually mistaken because that was the stone wall, Hadrians Wall. Is there an explaining source for Bedes eyes deceiving him? It's convincing but it just didn't make true sense or show any sources except Bede, a monkly saint, swearing blind it was a wood wall he saw. ~ R.T.G 15:40, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

It is my belief that the Roman history of Scotland is wrong and that Hadrians wall was built as a cheep alternative to a barier on he Forth/Clyde isthmus. It would not have been Hadrians plan to build a wall but that of his predecessor Trajan who had started a programme of wall building at strategic frontiers, the Trajan plan would have then been revived and adhered to by Hadrians successor,Antonius Pius. How do I know this,I was raised on a farm in east Scotland where a Roman villa once stood and is still there dismantled and buried in the ground.I have spent many years researching to explain why it came to be there and am claiming my righful place in history as the person who has answered once and for all the question,why did the Roman empire go into decline and collapse,something the acedmic world is reluctant to acknowledge

                                                     Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page).

G Donaldson78.144.90.13 (talk) 17:05, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

Roman Legioner in Rudyard Kipling Section[edit]

The Contributor uses the term Roman Legioner. Is this a term used by Kipling, or a typo. Just in case it's me being naive, I'll give it a few days before I correct it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sam.roebuck (talkcontribs) 20:58, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

Points of Interest[edit]

Could we convert the list of forts to a table, with a coordinates column, like that in Tame Valley Canal#Features? It would then be possible to use {{KML}} to make the exportable and mappable. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 12:18, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

Sounds good - go for it! - Sammy_r (talk) 12:33, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

Knowledge of Wall in MA?[edit]

I have some Italian maps from around 1300 that perhaps show the Hadrian`s Wall. Some suppose this maps were copies from Roman times. But is it possible that the location of the Wall was sufficiently widespread known in the 13th century? -- 217.86.113.120 (talk) 11:57, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

The Tabula Peutingeriana (which shows Hadrian's Wall) was quite old when rediscovered in 1508, so the practice of copying Roman maps was almost certainly practised in the C13. I would genuinely LOVE to have a look at your maps if they can be scanned. Sammy_r (talk) 13:19, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Me too! Jmlk17 16:17, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
It is not a simple task. I do not posses this maps but some reproductions. The resolution is not much good to see such details. Because at the middle of the Wall one sees something like a castle or two at a mountain. I have to try to enhance it. I only wanted to know whether there are medieval reports of the Wall on the continent.
I would like to see the Wall at the Tabula Peutingeriana. But without high speed link it is hard to find. Why not place a cut here or in the article? It would be a unique contemporary record evidence! -- 217.86.126.25 (talk) 19:20, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Just for you -
Part of Tabula Peutingeriana showing Britannia

Sammy_r (talk) 14:10, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

Thank you! I got not the idea to look at the reconstructed part of map. I assume the source for this part was some early modern copy. Is this source Miller had in the 19th century somewhere scanned too? -- 217.86.125.97 (talk) 07:23, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Not really sure of the origins. I got it from here. Sammy_r (talk) 08:06, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
According to this book ISBN 9780521764803 Miller based his 1898 reconstruction of the western end of the map on the Antonine Itinerary, the Ravenna Cosmography (both aren't maps, but lists of places) and Roman milestones. Markussep Talk 13:55, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Do we intertret that as meaning the TP shown here was not how the one rediscovered in 1508 looked? Sammy_r (talk) 10:54, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

So it seems this TP part regarding iconographics is only a good guess. Bad for me, because on one of my maps I see such a double tower at the Wall like in the TP. Mine are just more seperated from another and without conic roof. On another map I see a castle with a big door in the wall almost like in "King Arthur". I suspect it to be rather medieval iconographic style but at the location of the Wall. -- 84.172.156.222 (talk) 07:39, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

(See also my reply above) Have a look at
Arbeia Roman Fort - reconstructed gateway
. Is that similar? Looking at the TP, the places marked as double towers (without checking them all) seem to be either Legionary HQs or forts garrisoned by double strength Cohorts.
You said that your map shows castles on a mountain. This could certainly refer to the Whin Sill, which is a series of cliffs along which Hadrian's Wall runs for some of its length (about halfway along). The castle with a big door in the wall could refer to the Portgate, which was the gateway in the wall where Dere Street crossed.
Can you photograph the documents (or the relevant part)? From what you have described there's a chance they may be historically significant documents. Sammy_r (talk) 10:54, 25 August 2010 (UTC)


I did a closer look at the TP icons. Most are of similar type but a few are unique. Facetted conic roofs, wall between towers, double conic top like later Middle Ages. From this few there is more similarity to my map icon then to the familiar gate photo you presented. I`m surprised, I did not expect that.
I looked for older repro of my map and found one from the 19th century. Black and white but with better resolution then my color ones. I think I have now enough evidence to make a strong case that it is Hadrians Wall at my map.
Further the medieval mapdrawer did a mistake what reveals that the info about the Wall was not transmitted by text but by a visual representation. He had some ancient picture or map as source but faild to understand it properly.
I`m impressed what Wikipedia so far helped on the subject and would like to share and discuss my results here. I have to write an article on my userpage to explain the images I will upload. But I was warned not to place original research on Wikipedia. Would be missuse of WP as "webspace provider."
Could an article on my userpage realy be deleted because of OR? I would need a certain statement from an administrator before I go in this effort. Is someone of you administrator or do you know one? -- 217.86.125.209 (talk) 06:49, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
Not me, I'm afraid. I am happy to help out with your research, though. Feel free to send me an e-mail if you'd like. Sammy_r (talk) 09:16, 27 August 2010 (UTC)


Sorry, but this doesn't belong here, see WP:OR which applies to talk pages as well. The IP has asked at one of our help desks and been referred to Google documents as a possibility. You can't use Wikipedia for this sort of thing. Dougweller (talk) 13:55, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

The OP may want to try to get his hands on this book, which should have some relevant information. (The image on the cover is, of course, the famous "Matthew Paris map" of c. 1250, which shows both Hadrian's Wall and the Antonine Wall.) Deor (talk) 01:21, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Wow, thank you! I think we should mention the book and this linked map in the article. Looks like Millers Wall reconstruction may be based on Matthew because in the PT (and my map) the German Wall is not drawn that style. -- 217.86.120.28 (talk) 06:54, 1 September 2010 (UTC)