From an award-winning historian of ancient Rome, a definitive history of Hadrian's Wall
Stretching eighty miles from coast to coast across northern England, Hadrian's Wall is the largest Roman artifact known today. It is commonly viewed as a defiant barrier, the end of the empire, a place where civilization stopped and barbarism began. In fact, the massive structure remains shrouded in mystery. Was the wall intended to keep out the Picts, who inhabited the North? Or was it merely a symbol of Roman power and wealth? What was life like for soldiers stationed along its expanse? How was the extraordinary structure built -- with what technology, skills, and materials?
In Hadrian's Wall, Adrian Goldsworthy embarks on a historical and archaeological investigation, sifting fact from legend while simultaneously situating the wall in the wider scene of Roman Britain. The result is a concise and enthralling history of a great architectural marvel of the ancient world.
About the Author
Adrian Goldsworthy received his DPhil in ancient history from Oxford and has taught at Cardiff University, King's College, and the University of Notre Dame in London. The author of numerous books, including Pax Romana, How Rome Fell, and Caesar, he lives in South Wales, UK.
"For those touring the wall or armchair travelers, this book will be an excellent guide and entertaining read for Roman military history fans."—Library Journal
"An appealing, detailed history of the largest monument left by the Roman Empire."—Kirkus Reviews
"Adrian Goldsworthy has done it again! He has taken a well-known topic in Roman history and breathed new life into it. Goldsworthy has given us an easily-accessible study that takes the best and most up-to-date scholarship on the subject and has put it into an eminently readable narrative for the general public. If you can only own one book on Hadrian's Wall, this is it."
—Col. Rose Mary Sheldon, Virginia Military Institute
"Hadrian's Wall is a short and sparkling introduction to the great wall of the Roman Empire, written by a master historian. Adrian Goldsworthy cuts through the myth without losing the magic. This is a lucid account of the people, purpose and places of one of the world's most famous military structures."—Barry Strauss, Cornell University, author of The Death of Caesar: The Story of History's Greatest Assassination
"They must have wondered, those rude Picts and Caledonians, when they looked up at Hadrian's Wall, at what sort of a giant serpent had come into their land. And we still wonder at the Wall, as every generation of excavators digs up more puzzles than they solve, and our confident, modern, small questions-How was it built? -have monstrously transformed over the generations into those that the awed barbarians themselves might have asked: What did it intend? What was it for? And so, we are thankful for the guidance of Adrian Goldsworthy, for his clear thinking, his calm judgment, and his crystal prose. If anyone can explain the vast Roman Wall, if anyone can answer the barbarians' questions, it is he."
—J. E. Lendon, University of Virginia, author of Song of Wrath: The Peloponnesian War Begins and Soldiers and Ghosts: A History of Battle in Classical Antiquity