button to main menu  Camden's Britannia, edn 1789

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The Wall

Page 211:-
Pages 211-230 are The Wall


  Fortifications on the boundaries of the provinces
The Wall, CAMDEN
  The Picts Wall
THE upper edge of Cumberland is crossed by the famous wall, the boundary of the Roman province, called by the antient writers the Vallum Barbaricum, the Praetentura, and Clusura *, by Dio[a], Δια[ ]ειχισμα, by Herodian [b] χωμα, by Antoninus [c], Cassiodorus [d], and others, Vallum, by Bede [e] Murus, by the Britans Gual Sever, Gal Sever, and Mur Sever, by the Scots Scottinwaith, by the English and the neighbourhood the Picts Wall, or Pehits Wall, the Keepe Wall, and, by way of eminence, The Wall.
  Limits or bounds of the empire
  boundary, Roman Empire
When by their valour under Providence the ambition of the Romans crowned with a train of unexpected successes had so extended their empire on every side that they began almost to be jealous of their own greatness, the emperors thought it adviseable to set some bounds to it, considering it as a piece of good policy, "to set some bounds to their greatness, as the Heavens have their proper extent and the sea its limits [f]." These bounds were, according to circumstances of places, either natural as the sea, large rivers, mountains, desarts; or artificial, as lines, viz. ditches, castles, towers, barricadoes of trees, ramparts of earth and walls, along which garrisons were stationed against the barbarians. Hence in the Novellae of Theodosius [g] we read, "Our ancestors contrived the wall on the border to defend against the inroads of the barbarians all the territory comprehended under the Roman allegiance." On these borders soldiers called borderers were quartered in border castles and towns in time of peace: but when there was reason to fear an invasion of the neighbourhood, part of them were staioned in the lands in the country of the barbarians to defend the lands, and part made inroads into the enemy's frontier to watch their motions, and attack them when opportunity offered †.
  Praetentura 1.
  roman wall no.1
  Agricola's Wall

The Romans in this island seeing the remote parts of Britain, where the soil and air were less favourable, were inhabited by the barbarious Caledonian Britans, the reduction of whom would cost much trouble, and be attended with little advantage, established at various times various Praetenturae to bound and defend the province. The first seems to have been fixed by Julius Agricola when he garrisoned the narrow tract of ground between ‡ Bodotria and Glotta, which was presently after fortified.
  Praetentura 2.
  Rota Temporum

  roman wall no.2
  Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian, to whom the God Terminus gave way when he, either through envy of Trajan's glory, who had extended the empire to the utmost, or through fear, retired above 80 miles in this island, formed the second Praetentura. He, says Spartianus [h], drew a wall for 80 miles to separate the "Romans and Barbarians." From the following words of this author we may collect that this wall was built "of great piles driven deep into the ground, and bound together like a mural § fence [i]." this the wall now under consideration, which runs 80 miles, having on it PONS AELIA, CLASSIS AELIA, COHORS AELIA, ALA SABINIANA, so called after AElius Adrianus and Sabina his wife. The Scotish historian also, who wrote the Rota Temporum, says "Hadrian was the first who drew a rampart of prodgious bulk of sods pared off the ground as high as a mountain, with a very deep ditch in front from the mouth of Tine to the river Esc, from the German ocean to the Irish sea." Hector Boethius [k] expresses it in the same words.
  Praetentura 3.
  roman wall no.3
  Antonine Wall

Lollius Urbicus, lieutenant of Britain, under Antoninus Pius, by his success in war advanced the frontier again to that first Praetentura established by Agricola, and there raised a third Praetentura on the wall. He, says, Capitolinus [l], "defeated the Britans, and drew another wall of earth to keep off the barbarians," that is different from that of Hadrian. The glory of ending this war in Britain Fronto, as the Panegyrist relates [m], "ascribed to the emperor Antoninus, and though that prince sitting in his palace at Rome committed the conduct of it to him, he gave to him, as to one at the helm of a vessel of war, all the glory of the expedition and voyage." But I shall shew hereafter that this wall of Antoninus Pius and his lieutenant Lollius Urbicus was in Scotland.
  Praetentura 4.
  roman wall no.4
  Severus's Wall

When the Caledonian Britans in the reign of Commodus had broken through this, Severus, slighting that immense country beyond it, drew a fortification across the island from Eden mouth, or Solway frith, to Tine mouth, in the same place, if I mistake not, where Hadrian made his wall of piles, and with me agrees Hector Boetius [n]. "Severus, says he, commanded Hadrian's wall to be repaired, stone battlements [o] to be added, and towers at such intervals that the sound of a trumpet might be heard from one to the other, even though the wind was contrary;" and in another place [p], "Our chronicles relate that the wall began by Adrian was
211.*   The frontiers of provinces were called Clusurae from excluding the enemy, and Praetenturae because praetended or drawn before the enemy. See Pichaeus in Adversar. I. c.14.
211.†   Hence stationes agrariae in Vegetius.
211.‡   Edenborrow Frith and Dunbritten frith.
211.z   Some for muralis read militaris. What is said of the stakes is to be understood with limitation, there being no traces of wood in this work. Horsley, 117.
[a] LXXVI. c.12. p.866,
[b] III. c.48.
[c] Itin. p.464. 466. Edit. Wesseling.
[d] Chronicon.
[e] H.E. I. 12.
[f] [blank]
[g] Tit. 43.
[h] Hadrian, c.11. p.51.
[i] Ib. c.12. p.57.
[k] V. fol. lxxviii.
[l] v. Art. Pii c.6. p.132.
[m] Eumenius Paneg. Constantio c.14.
[n] B. VI. fol. lxxxviii.
[o] propugnacula.
[p] B. VI. fol. lxxix.
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