The Roman state has survived for over 2000 years. Its empire was one of the greatest the world has seen. How the Romans managed to rule their enormous empire with a relatively small professional army is a spectacular statement of power and a constant fascination. The Romans were not only experts in the use of power – and force – but also in portraying a strong image about themselves. Indeed, that image was so strong that it still excites our imagination today. Great literature and fantastic films demonstrate our continuing fascination with that image.
In Hadrian’s Wall we witness evidence of Roman power. It stretched 80 miles from the Solway Coast in Cumbria to Walls end near Newcastle upon Tyne. In places the Wall reached 6m in height. It took three legions (roughly 15,000 men) only 6 years to build. Hadrian’s Wall was a massive feat of engineering traversing rolling countryside, crossing rivers and hugging the formidable crags of the Whin Sill near Bardon Mill.
Today, the Wall stands as the best known and best preserved frontier of the Empire and a testament to the ingenuity and skill of its builders. It is Britain’s greatest Roman monument and, together with the Antonine Wall and the Upper German Raetian Limes, is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘Frontiers of the Roman Empire’.