Hadrian's Wall - one of the most prominent monuments of the Roman period in Britain - has a special place in the public imagination. It offers a tangible reminder of our ancient past and a concrete link with the Roman occupation. Visitors can stand amid the remains, knowing that they tread in the footsteps of the soldiers who garrisoned the province. Guides to the Wall have tended to concentrate on the archaeological record, on the Wall's construction and on military organisation. This book folds these aspects into a wider historical, social and economic perspective, providing the general reader with an analysis of how Hadrian's Wall functioned. It describes the impact it had on the lives of both Rome's soldiers and the native population, dealing with the contentious issue of `Romanisation'. It looks, too, at what happened in Christian communities of the Wall area after the Roman army's departure. Geraint Osborn utilises archaeological evidence, including the content of the remarkable Vindolanda tablets, to give a rounded picture of military life on the Wall. He also considers the role of the monument in the context of Victorian England, a time when parallels were frequently drawn between the Roman and British empires, and how this in turn affected the excavation, preservation and modern presentation of Hadrian's Wall.
Geraint Osborn has taught Ancient History in the Universities of Bristol, Cardiff and Durham. His main work has been on Roman Britain and Gaul and on the history of the later Roman empire.
List of Illustrations Preface and acknowledgements 1 Introduction 2 Why build a wall? 3 Military life 4 Civilian life 5 Hadrian's Wall and the end of Roman Britain 6 Conclusion: Hadrian's Wall and the English sense of history Further reading Places to visit Index/Glossary