Hadrian’s Wall

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Hadrian's Wall has historical significance. The wall was the first of two defense strongholds that were created during the ruling of the emperor Hadrian. History records the wall as being one of the most militarily equipped in the Roman Empire

The wall was a defensive structure constructed in Roman Britain, which was an island of Great Britain that was controlled by the Roman Empire. The concept of the wall was created as a result of Haridan's visit to Britain in 122 AD. The visit had been prompted due to a threat from the Brigantes, a Celtic tribe from the northern part of Britain. At the time, there was a need for parting of this tribe from some of the other tribes of lowland part of Scotland, who had united against the city of Rome ("Hadrian's Wall - History"). The wall took a total of 6 years to build. The wall has six different components including a wall built of stone that has a V shaped ditch in front of it; a notable amount of garrison strongholds, which were posts for military troops; the Vallum, which is an earthwork structure. Earthwork is a type of art form that is created through natural materials including rock, soil and water. The Vallum was constructed parallel with as well as to the south of the wall itself. There is also a metallic road that links the garrison strongholds known as Roman Military Way; several stationed strongholds that were built to the north of the wall that are linked via a rod and many guard towers that run along the Cumbrian coast. These guard towers were referred to as Western Sea Defenses ("Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site: A Case Study"; "Hadrian's Wall - History"; Gillespie). Much has been said regarding why Hadrian’s Wall was constructed as well as the significance of the Vallum.

One thought is that the Romans were in search of a place where they could build a superior military network that would protect them from hostile citizens. They would select the narrowest pathway of the east-west region of Britain and utilized several of the area's topological features in the wall's construction. Another was that where the wall was to be constructed was considered the best location for such a project. A third reason was offered which was that the wall was a representation of Roman Empire importance for those that passed through the city. The Vallum is known for the trench that runs parallel to the wall that was placed behind it. The Vallum is frequently discussed in historical record because it was an addition to the original planning of the wall itself. Hadrian considered the Vallum as an impenetrable barrier for intruders as the intruders would immediately encounter the deep ditch that was 18 feet wide and 9 feet deep. Additionally, the intruder would then have to encounter yet another deep trench if they were able to pass the first one (Gillespie). This made the Vallum one of the prime components of the wall in both structure and notoriety.

Given that the wall started to disappear over time, an antiquarian named John Clayton sought to preserve portions of it. Much of the remains of Hadrian's Wall today along with the structures accompanying it have been researched heavily in archeological research. The features have been adapted, altered and preserved for several centuries since the construction first began. Documentation of the history of Hadrian's Wall has been extensive due to the practical value that the Wall provided ancient Rome. In 1987, what was left of Hadrian's Wall was declared a World Heritage Site. Currently, the wall remains unguarded providing tourists the opportunity to see the wall close up and stand upon if it need be. While this practice is not encouraged due to the architectural aspects, it is still permitted ("Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site: A Case Study"). The ancient aspects of Hadrian’s Wall make it both a remarkable architectural creation and an historical masterpiece.

Works Cited

Gillespie, Michael. "Hadrian's Wall." Walela, Nov. 2007. Web. 5 Aug. 2013. <http://walela.mcdanel.com/HadriansWall.pdf>.

"Hadrian's Wall - History." The Roman Britain Organisation, 2011. Web. 5 Aug. 2013. <http://www.roman-britain.org/frontiers/hw_history.htm>.

"Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site: A Case Study." The Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles. J. Paul Getty Trust, 2003. Web. 6 Aug. 2013. < http://www.getty.edu/conservation/publications_resources/pdf_publications/pdf/hadrians_wall.pdf>