• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What was the purpose of Hadrian's Wall?

Extracts from this document...


What was the purpose of Hadrian's Wall? In 1600, William Camden, an Elizabethan antiquarian, was the first person to seriously attempt an explanation as to the purpose of what we now refer to as Hadrian's Wall. In the 18th century, further antiquarians, concerned with the steady demolition of the wall for building materials continued further studies. Despite the interest in the wall, it was nearly a century after William Camden's first attempts to explain the wall that serious academic research was mixed with archaeological excavations on a large scale. It was with thanks t these original excavations that we now have a fairly deep understanding of the wall itself. However, its purpose is still undecided and many explanations have been offered. Northumberland has been a border territory for almost 2000 years. When the Romans invaded and occupied Britain in the mid-1st century the small area that is now called Northumberland was officially designated as the edge of their mighty Empire, which stretched hundreds of miles to the East and South. In AD122 the Emperor Hadrian ordered the construction of a wall from the west coast of Britain to the east (From the Tyne to the Solway) ...read more.


Sixteen forts were located along the wall and could easily accommodate whole auxiliary units, around 500 to 1000 men (In Stanwix, the largest fort along the wall, there are speculations that a military cavalry unit was stationed here (Ala Petriana), the only one in Britain). Between the forts ran mile castles and turrets, but as to the question of who manned these, the answer is unclear. Some have suggested the possibility that the unit of the forts were in charge of a certain section of the wall, and it was therefore their responsibility to man the mile castles and turrets. However, after the original plan it was not possible for each fort to spare the men to man these, hence the possibility of numeri being employed to be stationed in the buildings. Despite the possibility, there is no evidence of such troops in Britain during the second century. The alternative to this argument (and the most probable explanation) was that there were two or three auxiliary units with the exclusive task of running the mile castles and turrets along the wall. ...read more.


For civil persons, there was probably a very liberal handling suggested by the many gates through the wall. The movement in and out of the province was thus closely supervised by the army but allowed. Patrolling the wall between the turrets, mile castles and forts is still a matter for discussion since on broad parts of the wall it is possible, but as of yet there is absolutely no evidence. We are now gathering the idea that the wall was there to control movement and to discourage raiding parties. It is without doubt though that should someone wish to cross the wall undetected, it is easily possible. The psychological effect that the wall would have on the Britons and Picts though was possibly the most important effect of the wall. Despite the wall being breached quite easily, the sheer size and power indicated to those to the south the Pax Romana and the protection that they received and to those to the north, the power of the Romans. Therefore, the main function of the wall was most probably to "Shock and Awe" the inhabitants and designed to maintain order. Gary Denyer Ancient History ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE History Projects section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE History Projects essays

  1. Cold War, Berlin Wall Crisis-1961

    Kennedy's speech gave a clear message, America is willing to fight over the fate of Berlin. At the same time East Germans were pushing for Khrushchev to forcefully remove capitalism from Berlin, believing Khrushchev's false claims of superior nuclear weapons.

  2. Was Oystermouth Castle typical of the castles built in Wales during the middle Ages?

    He made for the Castle of Oystermouth and he camped around it that night. The following day he captured there castle which, with the town, he burned This is evidence to show that it was motte and bailey castle, as all through most of the attacks it was burned.

  1. History - Castles Coursework

    that castles needed to be strong and defence, just like Ludlow is. The source I have used tells me that defensive castles such as Ludlow are typical of all the castles around England at the time. The second source I used states that Ludlow became a home after it was used for defence.

  2. Like most castles in the South of England, all of the changes at Portchester ...

    The changes made by King John at this time were not made for defence, but because he wanted to use Portchester as a base for his hunting and so he would have wanted better accommodation. Therefore the changes he made were a new chamber and latrine (public toilet)

  1. What is the Evidence for the Roman Occupation of the Antonine Wall?

    The other forts, Bearsden, Westerwood, Croy Hill, Rough Castle and Duntocher, where the area is known, are much smaller and could only have held parts of larger units. However some of the evidence is quite confusing. For example, an inscription was found at Rough Castle relating to Cohors VI Nerviorum,

  2. Sumer project

    Nearly all of the students come from wealthier families as the poor could not afford the cost of the schools. Students had to work hard from sun rise to sun fall and were taught grammar and writing. This began with learning how to write simple sounds of the language, kind off like our ABC.

  1. What was the Purpose and Nature of the Final Solution?

    Nazi-German extermination camps can be distinguished from concentration camps which were mostly intended as places of incarceration and forced labour. In the early years of the Holocaust the Jews were primarily sent to concentration camps, but from 1942 onward they were mostly deported to the extermination camps.

  2. The purpose of Stanton Drew Stone Circles

    The stone got broken up and pushed to the edge of the field by a farmer. This could have happened and probably did happen to the stones missing from the great circle and also stones may have had parts broken off them for use in buildings.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work