Posts Tagged ‘Hadrian’s Wall’

Hadrian’s Wall

Posted: February 21, 2018 in History, Roman History
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The worship of the God Mithras, although originating in Persia, had come to the Roman Empire through the Greeks. It was popular amongst the Military and a number of Mithraic temples (Mithraeum) have been discovered on Miltary sites connected with Hadrian’s Wall.

 

Relief of Mithras killing the Bull from Mithraeum at Housesteads Fort

Relief of Mithras killing the Bull from Mithraeum at Housesteads Fort

Statue of Birth of Mithras from Mithraeum at Housesteads Fort

Statue of Birth of Mithras from Mithraeum at Housesteads Fort

Altar dedicated Mithras the Invincible by the Prefect of 1st cohort of Batavians (from near the mouth of the river Rhine) from Mithraeum at Carrawburgh

Altar dedicated to Mithras the Invincible by the Prefect of 1st cohort of Batavians (from near the mouth of the river Rhine) from Mithraeum at Carrawburgh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Altar dedicated to Mithras from Mithraeum at Carrawburgh. It was probably painted as some green paint was still present on it when found

Altar dedicated to Mithras from Mithraeum at Carrawburgh. It was probably painted as some green paint was still present on it when found

Altar dedicated Mithras by Aulus Cluentius Habitus, an Italian from Lanneum in the Apenines - from Mithraeum at Carrawburgh

Altar dedicated to Mithras by Aulus Cluentius Habitus, an Italian from Lanneum in the Apennines – from Mithraeum at Carrawburgh

For many centuries during the Roman occupation the area around Newcastle was the frontier between the Roman Empire and the wild lands that lay beyond. The collection of Roman artefacts at The Hancock Museum in Newcastle is drawn from local excavations and reflects the life and the variety of people who found their way to this the most northern part of the Empire.

Altar to the 'Genius of the Emperor' set up by 1st cohort of Vardulli (scouts) who came from Northern Spain

Altar to the ‘Genius of the Emperor’ set up by 1st cohort of Vardulli (scouts) who came from Northern Spain

Relief of a Syrian Archer

Relief of a Syrian Archer

Tombstone of Aurelia Aia, a Christian from Salonae in Croatia - the wife of a soldier

Tombstone of Aurelia Aia, a Christian from Salonae in Croatia – the wife of a soldier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tombstone of the baby son of Aurelius Julianus, Tribune 1st Aelian Cohort (from Roumania) and 1st Thracian Cohort (from Bulgaria /Turekey)

Tombstone of the baby son of Aurelius Julianus, Tribune 1st Aelian Cohort (from Roumania) and 1st Thracian Cohort (from Bulgaria /Turkey)

Tombstone of Aureilia Aureliana. Late 3rd century AD

Tombstone of Aureilia Aureliana. Late 3rd century AD

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A pair of altars found near the bridge at Newcastle. They probably come from a harbour shrine as one is dedicated to the river god Neptune (Trident) and the other to the Sea god Oceanus (Anchor). They were set up by the 6th Legion, who played a major part in the building of Hadrian’s wall

For many centuries during the Roman occupation the area around Newcastle was the frontier between the Roman Empire and the wild lands that lay beyond. The collection of Roman artefacts at The Hancock Museum in Newcastle is drawn from local excavations and reflects the life and the variety of people who found their way to this the most northern part of the Empire.

Quern-stone for grinding corn into flour

Quern-stone for grinding corn into flour

Amphora originating in Southern Spain

Amphora originating from Southern Spain

Italian Red slip ware

Italian Red slip ware

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Altar dedicated to the godess Minerva

Altar dedicated to the goddess Minerva

Statue head from Temple at Benwell Fort

Statue head from Temple at Benwell Fort

Roman coffin found in Newcastle

Roman coffin found in Newcastle

Roman coffin found in Newcastle

Roman coffin found in Newcastle

 

The collection of altars found at Corbridge speaks to the diversity of the people who lived there and of their religion.

A remarkable triple devotion to Jupiter Dolichenus (a Syrian Sky Deity); Caelestis Brigantia (a diety of the local Brigantian tribe) and to Sulis (Goddess of health)

A remarkable triple devotion to Jupiter Dolichenus (a Syrian Sky Deity); Caelestis Brigantia (a diety of the local Brigantian tribe) and to Sulis (Goddess of health)

 

Juno (3rd century)

Juno (3rd century)

 

Hercules and the Hydra. Hercules was revered by many soldiers

Hercules and the Hydra. Hercules was revered by many soldiers

 

Jupiter

Jupiter

 

Minerva

Minerva

Decorated Samian Bowl (from South Gaul)

Decorated Samian Bowl (from South Gaul)

It is unclear when it started to develop but by 200 AD a substantial civilian settlement had developed around the legionary base. By the fourth century the military function of Corbridge had declined and many forts and bases were abandoned, but places such as Carlisle and Corbridge continued as civilian settlements. After the Romans left at the beginning of the fifth century the use of urban settlements began to decline as in the cultural vacuum that followed people returned to an agricultural rural based economy.

The Corbridge Lanx, Roman decorative metal work. Replica (original in British Museum)

The Corbridge Lanx, Roman decorative metal work. Replica (original in British Museum)

 

Corbridge Lion

Corbridge Lion

 

Decorated Samian Bowl (from South Gaul)

Decorated Samian Bowl (from South Gaul)

 

Decorated 4th century beaker

Decorated 4th century beaker

The later Saxon and subsequent medieval settlement was founded a mile east of the Roman town. There are records which show that the Roman site was known. Stone was used in later buildings including Hexham Abbey  and a record shows that King John came to the site in 1201 on a ‘treasure hunting’ trip although it also reports that he found nothing but stone. More scientific records were made in the 16th and 18th centuries. The first proper excavations took place in 1906-14 initially  under the be famous archaeologist, Leonard Wooley. Major excavations took place from 1947-74 and revealed much of what is visible today. A further excavation took place in 1980 before the building of the new Museum on the site and in recent years further excavations have continued to reveal new parts of the site.

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Corbridge is a small town, 25 miles inland from the North Sea along the valley of the River Tyne. To the west of the modern town is the site of Roman Corbridge, 2 miles south of Hadrian’s Wall. The impressive remains that are on display are only the central area of the settlement consisting of the military sector, but aerial photography has shown a much more extensive settlement surrounding the base. It’s location was at the junction of Stanegate (the Roman road running from Newcastle to Carlisle which had formed the definition of the northern border of Roman occupation prior to the completion of Hadrian’s Wall) and Dere Street (running north from York).

 

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The Roman army arrived in Northumberland around 70AD following the Brigantian rebellion in AD69. The first activity at Corbridge seems to date from the first excursion into Scotland by Julius Agricola and the site of the original fort lies a mile to the west of the later settlement. The victory of Agricola at the battle of Mons Graupius (? Near modern day Aberdeen) in 83 AD seemed to mark the successful end of the campaign but following barbarian invasions in the Danube region troops were withdrawn from Britain and the strategic decision was made to withdraw from Scotland to the original border and thus Corbridge changed from a supply base to an frontier post. At this time a new fort was constructed on the current site. There is an interesting interlude around 105AD when the Corbridge fort was burnt down and a number of other local forts were abandoned, suggesting perhaps that the Romans temporarily lost control of the area. However, the fort was soon rebuilt and at this time Stanegate was constructed.

Granaries

Granaries

The change in street level during Roman occupation. The coloumn bases were st original street level but later steps had to be provided to descend from street level.

The change in street level during Roman occupation. The column bases were st original street level but later steps had to be provided to descend from street level.

In 122AD the visiting Emperor Hadrian decided to erect a more visible frontier and work on Hadrian’s Wall commenced and Corbridge served as one of the major bases for the construction. This new function also resulted in a number of changes at Corbridge with new granaries and modifications to the principa building. Further expansions and modifications accompanied the campaigns into Scotland by the Emperor Antoninus Puis with the addition of many stone buildings including barracks replacing the previous timber walled buildings. However by 161 AD the campaigns had been suspended and the border once again became Hadrian’s Wall.  At this time evidence suggests that Corbridge had become a base for detachments from the 6th and 20th Legions (the majority of troops stationed along the wall were auxiliaries).At some point in the third century these were also joined at Corbridge by a detachment from the 2nd Legion.

Location for water tank feeding street fountains

Location for water tank feeding street fountains

 

Roman walls

Roman walls

Sue and I are spending a couple of days exploring Hadrians Wall around Hexham when we travel; up to Northumbria at the end of the month, so interested to read this post.

Tammy Tour Guide

Hadrian's Wall Hadrian’s Wall – rugged splendour

Hadrian’s Wall is one of the most impressive ancient monuments in Britain. It was once the northern frontier of the mighty Roman Empire and covers 84 miles of rugged countryside from Bowness-on-Solway in Cumbria to Wallsend on Tyneside.

Today this is spectacular walking country, whether you’re a serious walker or a casual visitor looking for a gentle trek across its ruins and fortifications.

Earlier this month I dusted down my walking boots and headed to Steel Rigg, my favourite spot, for a circular walk which was both bracing and breathtaking.

Hadrian's Wall Exploring the fortifications

Four seasons in one day

The classic Steel Rigg route is one of the best for taking in the wall in just a few hours. Start your trip at the Steel Rigg car park and head through the wicket gate along the route of the wall eastwards.

I’d come well prepared for the weather. ‘Layering’ is what you need when…

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One thing I have not seen before in other forts that I have visited is the strongroom which was built  under the headquarters building to store the soldiers pay and savings.

The headquarters building showing the location of the strongroom

The headquarters building showing the location of the strongroom

At Arbeia they have located and excavated it and although we are not sure how the top was closed, it is reminiscent of later day bank vaults

The excavated strongroom at Arbeia

The excavated strongroom at Arbeia