In Search of History – England’s Great Wall (Hadrian’s Wall – History Channel Documentary)

of western civilization where a Roman
Emperor built one of the ancient world’s engineering marvels a monument of empire
as puzzling as it was ambitious for a project that was built by hand the
dimensions of Hadrian’s Wall are staggering it was made up of 25 million
individual stones laid together they stretched across northern England
cutting Britain into built in the 120s ad it marked the northern limit of the
Roman Empire south of the wall Roman controls stretched nearly
unchallenged to the sands of Arabia the wall was a dividing line in the bloody
conflict between the Roman army which had conquered most of Britain and the
local tribes who were trying to drive them out Hadrian’s Wall named after the
Roman Emperor who ordered it was the ultimate statement of Roman
determination 2,000 years of time and weather
have worn it down but when it was built it was a wonder of the world when you
hadrian’s wall stood about 20 feet high and ten feet thick more than just a wall
it was a complex of forts castles and lookout towers along much of the wall
today only remnants of its glory remain but a reconstructed part of the wall
gives us some idea of how awe-inspiring it must have been to local British
tribesmen when it was built across their lands to the locals who built their own
houses from timber mud and thatch Hadrian’s Wall must have seemed like
something from an alien planet here was a stone structure seemingly endless
built with the technology they’ve never seen before the Britons watched as the
Romans used novelties like brick and mortar arch gates and tiles to reshape
the world before their very eyes what propelled the Romans to undertake
their biggest feat of engineering history gives us clues but no easy
answers the only surviving reference by Roman writers is all-too-brief
it simply states that the wall was built to separate the untamed northern areas
of Britain from the Roman held areas in the south the Romans had begun
colonizing Britain about 80 years earlier in 43 ad under the emperor
claudius southern parts of Britain today’s England had fairly quickly come
under Roman control sometimes willingly the British upper class enjoyed the
privileges of a new Roman lifestyle whose remains still exist in English
towns like bath but it was a different story in the
North especially in Scotland they’re fiercely independent warrior tribes
rejected the new Roman civilization they refuse to be tamed or dominated and they
took up arms against the invaders but their independence collided with the
Roman thirst for power driving deep into Scotland the legions conquered most of
the country but they could not hold it Rome had siphoned away soldiers from
Scotland for other campaigns and the invading army was forced to retreat
further south the Romans gave their Scottish enemies and anyone else who
rejected Roman civilization special derogatory names barbarians the word
barbarian comes from the sound Baba because to the Roman is the language of
uncivilized people sounded like sheep but although the Romans look down their
noses at the barbarians they also feared them the Romans as a race were
comparatively small in stature and their literature is full of references to the
taller menacing warriors of the north by the Year 121 AD the Romans and the
tribes in Scotland had reached a standoff when the Roman troops received
an important visitor their Emperor Hadrian
since being crowned four years earlier Hadrian had set the empire on a
revolutionary new course instead of expanding the Empire he wanted to
restrict it to a manageable size I mean the Roman philosophy after then was that
you know as the poet Virgil said the gods have given Roman Empire without end
which meant in time all space they were just gonna go on expanding and suddenly
Hadrian comes on and actually draws a demarcation line Hadrian toured the
empire to decide for himself just how and where to defend the frontiers in
Britain he must have heard plenty of complaints from the soldiers letters
found near the wall show what the Roman troops thought of the barbarians there
is one letter that says we hate these little Britons they won’t stand their
ground and fight to you man-to-man they’ll throw their javelin or they’ll
take a hack at you and then they’ll run off and hide behind a tree so the Romans
all felt presumably when they were traveling an open countryside under some
considerable threat the British resented having their young
men drafted into the Roman army where non Romans could be physically abused in
another letter a soldier talks of being beaten by
Centurions beat until he bled in fact he said once Asia and he writes that there
shouldn’t have happened to him because he was innocent and from overseas
hominem in a Kent M at trey’s marina in other words the implication is it’s all
right to beat the Brits who have been conscripted into the Roman army but the
overseas troops shouldn’t join retrievin I think he was hoping to hand that
letter to Hadrian when he came because he writes I implore your majesty and
very probably never got the chance because of the the letter his draft was
found in the Centurions quarter so he probably confiscated in-game you know
on other frontiers Hadrian had ordered fences and ditches to be built but here
he ordered a massive wall work began in 122 AD just after his visit the only ancient reference to Hadrian
building the wall has a single sentence about his the ancient bog of Hadrian
saying he came to Britain you reformed many things and he built a wall the
first to do so to separate the Romans from the barbarians no architect is given credit but many
signs point to Hadrian he actually considered himself a great architect and
saw himself as the guardian of Rome’s great building tradition Hadrian was
born in 76 AD just as builders were beginning the
Colosseum in Rome works like this inspired Hadrian to study architecture
and to build throughout his reign as Emperor Hadrian personally helped to
redesign the Pantheon in Rome which was completed around the same time as he was
ordering the wall to be built in Britain Hadrian also spent about 20 years
supervising the building of a 300 acre private villa at Tivoli near Rome the
most ambitious palace ever built by any of the Emperor’s given all that it’s
likely that Hadrian himself thought up the concept of the wall leaving his
commanders in the field to turn it into stone and mortar the inscription of his name on the wall
is more than just symbolic this is very much his personal brainchild and very
it’s very much the symbol of the change policy which he brought in them no more
expansion peaceful developments avoiding war and here you see Hadrian had
tremendous interest in architecture this was one of his hobbies passions and more
than a hobby he reckoned he were he was better at it at that and better at
everything else I mean he’s one of these appalling Nels so large was Hadrian’s
ego that to criticize his work could be fatal once while he was in the capital
designing the Temple of Venus and Rome Hadrian asked the opinion of a famous
architect Apollodorus he write back saying well is the problem about this
because the statues of the goddesses of Venus and Rome were sitting on Thrones in
the temple if they wanted to get up and go out they would hit their heads on the
ceiling which was a sort of sarcastic joke and because of this Hadrian was
alleged to have had him executed I think this is probably a probably an
exaggeration but but it illustrates the point if it was Hadrian who planned the
wall why did he order it on such a gigantic scale was it fear of the
barbarians or of something closer to home to this day historians are puzzled
by the sheer scale of Hadrian’s Wall in 122 AD the Romans had four legions in
Britain more than enough to deal with any trouble from barbarian tribes in the
north usually it was one or two tribes it
wasn’t a whole Federation and so really we assume the Romans didn’t have too
much trouble with barbarians historians now believe the Romans may
have built the wall not just to repel invaders but to take charge of the whole
region by controlling human traffic the Romans were very concerned to control
cross frontier trade partly because it was quite profitable to them they were
also concerned about things like the export of weapons to potential enemies
whatever the reasons the wall comes off is a case of overkill
experts say Hadrian wanted a symbol as much as anything a kind of megalomaniac
scheme really and what was the purpose all is to impress people partly I think
– to impress the Romans and and to tell present and future governors of Britain
this is the limit chaps we’re not gonna have any more Wars of expansion I would
think it’s probably overkill and there’s more than a hint of the greater glory if
you like of of the emperor building this kind of commitment to the Emperor’s
works and all the wonderful things that he does showing people how dominant Rome
is for Hadrian it was easy enough to water
his wall to be built but who would build it and how the answer was obvious great
works in the provinces were always a job for the army itself soldiers were
trained to be builders as well as warriors the army was stuffed full of
engineers and surveyors and technicians of that kind they had their own
architects and indeed it was probably the army that that helped a province
like Britain get up on its feet showed them how to build temples how to build
amphitheaters one of the reasons the Roman army became
a kind of mobile construction crew was the difficulty of long distance supply
in ancient times things had to be done on the spot as much as possible. Rome
could afford to rebuild the known world because its builders were already on the
payroll and materials were simply appropriated. To build Hadrian’s Wall
today would cost billions. The Channel Tunnel for example between
Britain and France has cost something about order, so it’s of that kind of
scale of magnitude that we’re talking about. Hadrian had a personal reason for
keeping his soldiers busy with a major building project armies could make or
break Emperor’s and Hadrian didn’t want his legions to have any spare time for
political plotting soldiers who were idle were trouble in the Roman world
there’s not much doubt about that and the the army in Britain seems to have
been fairly prone to mutinous behavior and not obeying its officers and so on.
And I think there is something in the argument that one of the reasons
Hadrian’s Wall was ordered to be constructed was to keep the soldiers
very busy indeed. If they were also building a grand project which had
Hadrian’s name emblazoned all over it that was one way in which you could
actually make people feel that “I’m doing this for the Emperor, I’m doing this for the
greater glory of Rome The wall building satisfied another one of Hadrian’s obsessions: Keeping his troops disciplined the Roman cult of the
goddess discipline if you like or the discipline of the Emperor starts up
under Hadrian and they actually found an altar to the discipline of the Emperor
Hadrian in in the river here touring all the army units checking on on on whether
there was excessive luxury whether whether the officers were wearing too
fancy uniforms living with the man himself eating their simple fare and all
rest of it and and cracking down on discipline and and making them trained
and this is yeah this is very much giving the troops something to do I
think that the the legions in Britain got a bit of a tough deal because they
got very much more to do than any others I would and so the task began three legions of
soldiers up to 15,000 men would build the wall themselves mainly by hand they
used few if any slaves or local workers even though the wall would have to cross
nearly 80 miles of hills valleys and rivers it was incredibly difficult in
some places and we can see from the archaeological evidence that there was a
lot of effort taken to level the courses where the war is sometimes going up a
sort of one into slope it must have been extremely difficult to build something
of the size and complexity of the war over some of the some of that terrain one of the toughest jobs was cutting the
stone for the building blocks tools found near the wall are a clear reminder
that the project was powered purely by human sweat there are quarries near the
line of Hadrian’s Wall which have some graffiti in the from the soldiers
complaining about how hard the stone was and in some areas of the construction of
the ditch they actually had to give up the rocks too hard for them so even the
Roman army was defeated at times there’s a marvelous letter from a soldier and
he’d managed to get a job on the staff and say the other soldiers spending were
they cutting stay and I’m its city and the the COS office doing nothing or
basically writing letters home and doing a bit of paperwork and cutting stone
like this I mean horrible job and then digging the ditches these ditches you
know it may look relatively easily but once you get down a few feature into
Boulder clay so that if if it’s hot weather which is sometimes is here it
baked baked brick hard you can’t you can’t get a spade into it and if it’s
wet which it very often is then after a few feet died it’s so slippery you can
hardly move and to enter toss the star hard no the sodas must have cursed
Hadrian it’s bad enough today building a freeway
or a motorway but to do that when you don’t have the advantage of mechanical
equipment and you’ve got to drag everything by hand or by donkey or by
sled or whatever it’s it’s very difficult indeed once the stone had been
quarried and brought to the line of the wall it was a painstaking job to lay
each of the stone rows or courses using water made of limestone and water one
gang would come and lay the foundation that’s probably all they did they’d be
on foundations for the most of their course and then another gang would come
along and build courses of the wall and probably have to do a few courses fill
it with rubble let that set come along another day a few more
courses let that set so we’d probably see not like brick laying at all it
would be much slower than that but two years after building had started Hadrian
suddenly changed his mind he wanted big changes the troops would have to start
rebuilding whole sections of the wall in Hadrian’s original plan the wall
would not be heavily defended it would be manned by a skeleton outfit of troops
living in small forts every mile or so the so-called mile castles were attached
to the wall itself each of the 80 mile castles could house about 30 soldiers
giving the wall a total force of more than 2,000 that was considered enough to
repel an attack until reinforcements arrived some of the troops would be
stationed in Lookout turrets every third of a mile the turrets gave the Romans an
unimpeded view of the countryside and could also be used for rapid
communication between units weather permitting any signal in those days
would have to be visual so it would have to be smoke it would have to be flame it
would have to be something you could see and and anything like that breaks down
when the weather is poor as it sometimes is even in the north of England if there
was a serious barbarian attack the plan was to rush soldiers to the wall from
forts in the south but about two years into the building of the wall Rome
decided this was not good enough the wall would need a strong force of its
own Hadrian ordered 16 large forts to be added to the plans presumably because
the decision was taken that it wasn’t just going to be a customs barrier or
whatever the wall was for it was going to be something which actually was also
a base for control of the territory further north it was going to have to
have on it a quick response force a Rapid Response Force excavations have shown how the builders
had to quickly change course the foundations of some forts run right over
the wall proving that the fort was an afterthought they’d already built
turrets and my castles in the whole war and then they had to demolish them again
and stack the fort on top and they’re examples of that all over the place this
this fits in very much with Hayden havens interfering nature the fort’s
were not the only change Hadrian made soldiers were also ordered to build a
deep wide ditch called a vellum running the whole length of the wall on its
south side but why there seems little need for the Romans to have had extra
protection on their own side of the wall on the south side elaborate earthworks
which people still can’t understand the purpose of I mean it’s always tempting
to think that there was some misunderstanding because the Emperor was
always changing his mind and sending through instructions to do something
different again Hadrian’s continual interference in the building process
cost him one of his oldest friendships the man who had to oversee the wall
project as governor of the British province was plet aureus Nepos a good
friend of the emperor until construction started by the end of both their lives
they had fallen out these two and I guess when Pretorius Nepos returned to
Rome three or four years after coming here with Hadrian Hadrian stays for a
few weeks and says do this do this do that
Nepos had to cope over change in plan and he probably couldn’t stand the side
of the Emperor after that despite all the changes and difficulties
the wall was probably finished in about eight to ten years
judging from the various names and dates inscribed on the wall itself it shows
that they were building pretty pretty hard and fast they had to do 10 miles a
year eight miles a year also of curtain war and that is an impressive
achievement in it in any climate bearing in mind of course that the climate at
the time you probably couldn’t build for three or four months of the year because
of the frost the snow it was just impossible to to do some of that
building once it was finished the wall could house up to 20,000 troops a huge
number for an isolated region this created a giant bureaucracy because the
Romans kept records sometimes in triplicate of every soldier’s duties
they kept proper rosters and from these records we do know that there’s men out
all over the place some are guarding the marketplaces the native markets some
have gone to collect fodder for the horses some have gone to collect barley
there’s one porch up in these records on edge Turk every day we don’t know what
it is so we usually translate it as in the Train cleaning but soldiers on the
wall did have some traditional Roman comforts this fort at Chester’s hidden
underneath the earth until modern excavation included a beautifully
constructed bathhouse you would put a stone-flagged floor
somebody would crawl in and light a fire underneath these Falls so something
would have to break the ashes out every morning light another fire and how it
worked we’re not absolutely sure did they like several fires underneath or on
one huge bonfire or what and they usually laid out on Hadrian’s
Wall to a more or less standardized plan this we know because there is one which
is a complete mirror image of the usual design which seems to suggest that they
had a plan on parchment which somebody had used upside-down the bathhouses were
just part of each wall for its elaborate plumbing the scheme the Romans are
excellent water engineers if nothing else they would have clean water and
then they’d use that water that was used for any purpose to flush out the
latrines using it the lowest point of the fort where all the water would be
gathered together to flush them out their beers communal toilet with rows of
seats where you could have a chat water flowing around the inner channel all the
time nice basin for your sponge on a stick
since that invented toilet paper there was nothing fancy about the soldiers
sleeping arrangements the barracks were laid out in long lines with eight men
having to share each of the small rooms there were very few luxuries for the
average soldier kitchen orders show the enlisted men were given sour wine while
vintage wine was served to their officers the commander’s quarters in the
wall forts were also of a different class altogether the end of the block
there’d be the officers house which had a six seven rooms in and was far more
palatial the officers houses had heated floors and certainly the commanding
officer had the usual heated floor system and his own private bath system
with the other meeting arrangements for the water the barracks generally didn’t the wall in its forts had been built to
stand for centuries yet incredibly within a few short years Rome would
reverse its entire strategy and the complex would become a ghost town the building of Hadrian’s Wall had an
important side effect on the north of England it created a whole new service
industry the thousands of Roman troops on the wall were captive consumers a
Merchants dream they were getting regular pay almost nobody ancient world
had pay casual labor we were a slave or whatever or you you lived off your own
land subsistence living soon civilian towns sprang up outside each fort often
as big as the forts themselves all sorts of hawkers and tinker’s and traitors
would come and set up outside the forts and of course also there will be other
services provided to in the forms of brothels and all sorts of other shops
and so on hangers on you simply assumed that there would be taverns on occasion
you might find a bit of pot that suggests that they were there’d be
soldiers wives there’d be people selling all sorts of food drink maybe even some
of the natives would settle and do some farming for them the complex was still
less than 10 years old when in 138 ad its architect the Emperor Hadrian died
without ever having seen his completed project his successor Antoninus
immediately scrapped Hadrian’s policy in Britain
soon as he died his successor ordered returned to Scotland almost as a slap in
the face to Hadrian just just just to prove it Antoninus ordered the army to
abandon Hadrian’s Wall to advance north again and to build another wall about
100 miles north of the original this new one was built of turf instead of stone
and was half as long about 40 miles from coast to coast the Roman army felt that
there was more territory they could control they could pacify they could
ensure that was was brought within the Empire who died by moving the wall that
far north Hadrian had been an exception most Emperor’s including Antoninus
wanted military campaigns to win the loyalty of the army to feed such
ambition Hadrian’s Wall was cast aside I think the abandonment of Hadrian’s Wall
and then the advance into Scotland and the construction of the Antonine wall is
a giveaway for the fact that a lot of these Roman military achievements like
war construction or advances were often not particularly to do with local
conditions they were often primarily to do with central Imperial politics in
this case an emperor needed to have military victory but the returned to Scotland did not
bring the success the new emperor had hoped for and the new wall itself was
abandoned after about 15 years why had the new wall failed the Romans left no
explanations but it was probably too difficult to keep Garrison’s supplied in
the sparse rugged north the Roman army again retreated south to
renovate Hadrian’s Wall and to call it home once more from about 158 ad it
again became the northern border of the empire but how well did it perform its
stated aim of keeping the barbarians out of romanized Britain historians have
been disagreeing for centuries first although ancient writers spoke of the
barbarian threat modern historians doubt that the northern tribes could have
overrun the Roman army with or without a wall
this thing would rather more like the Berlin Wall it was designed to control
people rather than to prevent invasions if there was going to be any danger of a
military attack the Romans would expect to pick that up through their own
intelligence gathering networks of spies and patrols and we’ll go out and meet it
in the field preferably on enemy territory a letter found near the wall shows that
the wives of Roman officers felt secure enough to plan their social lives
without much fear of attack there’s another letter which is from the wife of
a commandant at one of the fort’s to the wife of her commandant at another fort
which is about 15 20 miles away saying do come to my birthday party next week
we’ll be so delighted to see you it’s clearly if the wife of a commander could
travel 15 miles to a birthday party and on roads which were liable to an ambush
then it’s not quite so quite so dangerous as all that necessarily and yet ancient historians write of not
one but several major attacks by the barbarians against the wall some of them
apparently successful although the historians may have mentioned it
historians would normally write him from the security of Rome or Capri or
somewhere really rather Pleasant and they were using documentary sources that
they had available to them at the time they wouldn’t necessarily say was
entirely correct there are very few eyewitness reports of of that kind of
thing excavations have shown that there was
indeed damage to the wall that much is certain but who caused the damage and
how whether that’s destruction by hostile forces or whether its
destruction by accident accidental fires just lack of maintenance if you like
having buildings falling down it’s difficult to tell from the record an arc
archeology only produces evidence of destruction it doesn’t tell you who did
the destroying how could barbarians have managed to assault the might of Rome
massed along continuous walls history suggests that the Romans may have given
them the chance by playing internal politics instead of protecting the
Empire several times ambitious Roman commanders in Britain took their legions
back to Europe to challenge the Emperor’s crown historians say that
during these absences Hadrian’s Wall might have been left under protected and
open to attack many people think that was when the
barbarians recognizing it was a good opportunity came over the wall and
destroyed various things in long wall itself in a bit further south there’s
dispute about this but that that’s certainly a plausible story the wall by itself would not have been
enough to stop a determined enemy from getting across it the wall depended on
the Romans Lookout system if it was to stand unchallenged if it wasn’t being
properly watched the barbarians could have crossed it in a lightning raid one
problem is the Romans tended to tended to tell official lies about the reasons
for rebuilding they said you know something had fallen down through elde
age and had been restored the last thing they would be likely to say was that it
been captured and destroyed by the barbarians and yet the Romans would
eventually be forced to abandon the wall because of an even greater threat to
their empire by the early for hundreds ad Rome had
ruled Britain for more than three centuries but was losing interest in its
northern frontier Rome itself was being invaded by barbarian tribes who would
eventually conquer Rome and throw Hadrian’s ashes into the river Tiber on
the continent the Romans facing a much larger threat along the Rhine and the
Danube from whole peoples on the move trying to force their way into the Roman
Empire partly because they wanted to be Romans
– so Britain no longer really needed its garrison role began pulling troops out
of Britain and the wall defenders were reduced to a fraction of their former
strength the numbers of troops in a unit were falling where as they’d been five
or six hundred in Hadrian’s days in a troop unit maybe with only a hundred by
the time we get into the fourth century there were reasons within Britain – for
Rome to lose interest in the wall the line between the soldiers and the
barbarians was starting to disappear I think the wall was becoming less and
less relevant tools the end of the Roman period
partly because perhaps paradoxically the peoples of that whole northern part of
what is today England southern Scotland were probably so accustomed to each
other though they were largely assimilated together more and more the
Roman army in Britain was made up of local recruits very few of the soldiers
were actually Roman the Romans had been drafting British men and boys for
centuries and for many of them the only contact they’d ever had with Rome was
their commanding officers their loyalties drifted more and more towards
their own backyard and away from their distant Emperor some Romans even collaborated with the
tribes across the wall sharing military secrets the soldiers began to see the
wall less as a barrier and more is their own neighborhood the way in which the
Roman troops felt about being on the wall changed and we can tell that from
the archaeological record because the structures inside the forts seem to
change the barrack blocks change in their emphasis instead of being separate
back rooms each of which would have held eight this was becoming accommodation
for families rather than eight or ten men soldiers were spending more time
farming around the forts to feed their families than they were defending the
Empire because army pay from Rome slowed to a trickle archeologists searching the wall have
found that the dates on the coin stopped at around the three eighties ad it seems
that as rome became more concerned with defending its own capital from invaders
payment to its British soldiers slowed and then stopped leaving them to melt
back into the local population Rome’s final departure from Britain came at
about 410 AD Hadrian’s Wall was left to whoever wanted to claim it but without
military wages and supplies coming through even former soldiers found
little motivation to stay although the structures were there for them to live
in and maybe that the houses were there the hovels were there the chalets were
there inside the fort’s for them to live in with their wives and families they
would have found it increasingly hard in that rather barren area to make a
lifestyle which was sustainable and I’m sure they would have moved south or
north in to do much better agricultural land as soon as they possibly could Hadrian’s Wall had served the Romans for
nearly 300 years it had been built to secure its province of Britain but Rome
had been forced to abandon it does that make the wall a success or a failure
if you repair it then it must be doing whatever it was that the Romans thought
it should do it was quite arrogant of archeologists to say that 300 years of
history is rubbish because he can’t have been doing what we think it was doing
they simply wouldn’t have bothered to keep it going they would have thought of
something else measured by time Hadrian’s Wall was a great success few
defensive lines have worked for 300 years
so I think we should regard it as a success from the Romans point of view
though always tuned to that sense of failure and regret that well the Romans
never quite managed to dominate the whole of the land that they wanted to
dominate and this is a recognition that they actually were human to once
abandoned the wall became little more than a lonely monument winding
pointlessly through the northern English countryside it had once guarded an
empire but now it could not even protect itself
it became prey to poachers looking for stones for their buildings once the structures abandoned people
come and and pinch the materials and many of the churches which were
constructed in the 9th 10th and the centuries and then the normal period in
that area seemed to be built of the kind of stone that you might have expected
the wall to be built worst damage was to follow in 1745 after English troops had
to defend against the invading Scottish forces under Bonnie Prince Charlie
England decided to strengthen its northern defences by building a road for
rapid troop movement and 30 miles of the wall became the foundation for a highway
which is still used today fortunately much of the remaining wall has been
rediscovered and preserved it stands as a monument to Rome’s determination to
rebuild the world in its own image rooms like to say we build useful things
aqueducts and bridges and so on and the Egyptians build these useless pyramids
our way whether the person who said that elder Pliny if he had lived 40 or 50
years longer and that seeing haridwar whether he’d have included Hadrian’s
Wall among the useful round building achievements is another question from
the day the first stone was laid Hadrian’s Wall was a contradiction it
was meant to be a monument to power but it’s very existence spoke of failure the
failure to expand an empire without the trouble is that they found that they
could never actually get to that stage because there was always someone else
out there who didn’t want them or needed to be influenced so you could say that
what Hayden’s wall represents is a failure a realization on the part of the
Romans that they couldn’t dominate the world
if Hadrian’s Wall was a failure it was certainly on the most colossal of
scales it is a lesson to be learned but only if we go in search of history you

Comments 16

  • The "why " seems obvious ,you need fewer men to man the border if you block access to most of the land. The Romans were getting their asses kicked in Germany ,they needed their men over there.
    Instead of "overkill" perhaps it shows just how afraid the Romans were of the northern tribes.

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  • Another excellent documentary. I really appreciate your efforts, and I totally like you giving credit to your sources. You rock! πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

  • I don't understand why the romans couldn't just finish off the tribes north of the wall…. surely they had the manpower to do it? Maybe they wanted to keep some hostile tribes north of the wall to have an outside threat to unify the roman britons against?

  • "We're gonna build a wall and make the Scots pay for it!" – Hadrian

  • Hi, Peter. Thanks again, dear. Have a good week.

  • I can understand the Romans got their stone from local quarries but where on earth did they get the thousands of tons of sand, cement, limestone or whatever was necessary to make the mortar from ?

  • Christmas morning, waiting for the kids to get up, and watching old History Channel docs…it’s going to be a good Christmas! Merry Christmas, everyone! πŸŽ„

  • Mrs. May – build that wall again and make Britain great again ! — the Don.

  • Go Fuck Yourself.

  • Reminds me of the border wall our illustrious Emperor is trying to build now… I heard he might use executive powers to use US soldiers to build the wall too. Hmm sounds familiar…

  • I find it interesting that no one really ever conquered the Scots for thousands of years

  • I remember this show..back in the day when the History Channel has actual history shows instead of the shite they broadcast today.

  • Hadrian's Wall was actually the inspiration for the wall in the A Song of Ice and Fire series.


  • 22:50 OMG it’s β€œPat!”

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