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The Antonine Wall, known to the Romans as Vallum Antonini, was a turf fortification on stone foundations, built by the Romans across what is now the Central Belt
Central Belt
of Scotland, between the Firth of Forth
Firth of Forth
and the Firth of Clyde. Representing the northernmost frontier barrier of the Roman Empire, it spanned approximately 63 kilometres (39 miles) and was about 3 metres (10 feet) high and 5 metres (16 feet) wide. Security was bolstered by a deep ditch on the northern side. It is thought that there was a wooden palisade on top of the turf. The barrier was the second of two "great walls" created by the Romans in Northern Britain. Its ruins are less evident than the better-known Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall
to the south, primarily because the turf and wood wall has largely weathered away, unlike its stone-built southern predecessor. Construction began in AD 142 at the order of Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
Antoninus Pius, and took about 12 years to complete. Antoninus Pius
Antoninus Pius
never visited Britain, whereas his predecessor Hadrian
Hadrian
did. Pressure from the Caledonians
Caledonians
may have led Antoninus to send the empire's troops further north. The Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
was protected by 16 forts with small fortlets between them; troop movement was facilitated by a road linking all the sites known as the Military Way. The soldiers who built the wall commemorated the construction and their struggles with the Caledonians
Caledonians
in decorative slabs, twenty of which still survive. The wall was abandoned only eight years after completion, and the garrisons relocated back to Hadrian's Wall. In 208 Emperor Septimius Severus re-established legions at the wall and ordered repairs; this has led to the wall being referred to as the Severan Wall. The occupation ended a few years later, and the wall was never fortified again. Most of the wall and its associated fortifications have been destroyed over time, but some remains are still visible. Many of these have come under the care of Historic Scotland
Scotland
and the UNESCO
UNESCO
World Heritage Committee.[citation needed]

Contents

1 Location and construction 2 Abandonment 3 Post-Roman history

3.1 Gildas and Bede 3.2 Grim's Dyke 3.3 World Heritage status 3.4 Historic Environment Scotland

4 Mapping the wall 5 In fiction 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Location and construction[edit] Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
Antoninus Pius
Antoninus Pius
ordered the construction of the Antonine Wall around 142.[1] Quintus Lollius Urbicus, governor of Roman Britain at the time, initially supervised the effort, which took about twelve years to complete.[2] The wall stretches 63 kilometres (39 miles) from Old Kilpatrick
Old Kilpatrick
in West Dunbartonshire
West Dunbartonshire
on the Firth of Clyde
Firth of Clyde
to Carriden near Bo'ness
Bo'ness
on the Firth of Forth. The wall was intended to extend Roman territory and dominance by replacing Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall
160 kilometres (99 miles) to the south, as the frontier of Britannia. But while the Romans did establish many forts and temporary camps further north of the Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
in order to protect their routes to the north of Scotland, they did not conquer the Caledonians, and the Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
suffered many attacks. The Romans called the land north of the wall Caledonia, though in some contexts the term may refer to the whole area north of Hadrian's Wall. The Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
was shorter than Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall
and built of turf on a stone foundation rather than of stone, but it was still an impressive achievement. The stone foundations and wing walls of the original forts demonstrate that the original plan was to build a stone wall similar to Hadrian's Wall, but this was quickly amended. As built, the wall was typically a bank, about four metres (13 feet) high, made of layered turves and occasionally earth with a wide ditch on the north side, and a military way on the south. The Romans initially planned to build forts every 10 kilometres (6 miles), but this was soon revised to every 3.3 kilometres (2 miles), resulting in a total of nineteen forts along the wall. The best preserved but also one of the smallest forts is Rough Castle
Rough Castle
Fort. In addition to the forts, there are at least 9 smaller fortlets, very likely on Roman mile spacings, which formed part of the original scheme, some of which were later replaced by forts.[3] The most visible fortlet is Kinneil, at the eastern end of the Wall, near Bo'ness.[4] There was once a remarkable Roman structure within sight of the Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
at Stenhousemuir. This was Arthur's O'on, a circular stone domed monument or rotunda, which may have been a temple, or a tropaeum, a victory monument. It was demolished for its stone in 1743, though a replica exists at Penicuik House.

Forts and Fortlets associated with the Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
from west to east: Bishopton, Old Kilpatrick, Duntocher, Cleddans, Castlehill, Bearsden, Summerston, Balmuildy, Wilderness Plantation, Cadder, Glasgow Bridge, Kirkintilloch, Auchendavy, Bar Hill, Croy Hill, Westerwood, Castlecary, Seabegs, Rough Castle, Camelon, Watling Lodge, Falkirk, Mumrills, Inveravon, Kinneil, Carriden

In addition to the line of the Wall itself there are a number of coastal forts both in the East (e.g. Inveresk) and West (Outerwards and Lurg Moor), which should be considered as outposts and/or supply bases to the Wall itself. In addition a number of forts farther north were brought back into service in the Gask Ridge
Gask Ridge
area, including Ardoch, Strageath, Bertha (Perth)[3] and probably Dalginross and Cargill.[5] Abandonment[edit]

Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
near Falkirk

The wall was abandoned only eight years after completion, when the Roman legions withdrew to Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall
in 162, and over time may have reached an accommodation with the Brythonic tribes of the area, whom they may have fostered as possible buffer states which would later become "The Old North". After a series of attacks in 197, the emperor Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus
arrived in Scotland
Scotland
in 208 to secure the frontier, and repaired parts of the wall. Although this re-occupation only lasted a few years, the wall is sometimes referred to by later Roman historians as the Severan Wall. This led to later scholars like Bede
Bede
mistaking references to the Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
for ones to Hadrian's Wall. Post-Roman history[edit] Gildas and Bede[edit]

The Antonine Wall, looking east, from Bar Hill between Twechar
Twechar
and Croy

Writing in AD 730, Bede
Bede
following Gildas mistakenly ascribes the construction of the Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
to the Britons in Historia Ecclesiastica 1.12:

The islanders built the wall which they had been told to raise, not of stone, since they had no workmen capable of such a work, but of sods, made it of no use. Nevertheless, they carried it for many miles between the two bays or inlets of the sea of which we have spoken; to the end that where the protection of the water was wanting, they might use the rampart to defend their borders from the irruptions of the enemies. Of the work there erected, that is, of a rampart of great breadth and height, there are evident remains to be seen at this day [AD 730]. It begins at about two miles distance from the monastery of Aebbercurnig [Abercorn], west of it, at a place called in the Pictish language Peanfahel, but in the English tongue, Penneltun [Kinneil], and running westward, ends near the city of Aicluith [Dumbarton].[6]

Bede
Bede
associated Gildas' turf wall with the Antonine Wall. As for Hadrian's Wall, Bede
Bede
again follows Gildas:

[the departing Romans] thinking that it might be some help to the allies [Britons], whom they were forced to abandon, constructed a strong stone wall from sea to sea, in a straight line between the towns that had been there built for fear of the enemy, where Severus also had formerly built a rampart.[6]

Bede
Bede
obviously identified Gildas' stone wall as Hadrian's Wall, but he sets its construction in the 5th century rather than the 120s, and does not mention Hadrian. And he would appear to have deduced that the ditch-and-mound barrier known as the Vallum (just to the south of, and contemporary with, Hadrian's Wall) was the rampart constructed by Severus. Many centuries would pass before just who built what became apparent.[7] Grim's Dyke[edit] In medieval histories, such as the chronicles of John of Fordun, the wall is called Gryme's dyke. Fordun says that the name came from the grandfather of the imaginary king Eugenius son of Farquahar. This evolved over time into Graham's dyke[8][9] – a name still found in Bo'ness
Bo'ness
at the wall's eastern end – and then linked with Clan Graham. Of note is that Graeme in some parts of Scotland
Scotland
is a nickname for the devil, and Gryme's Dyke would thus be the Devil's Dyke, mirroring the name of the Roman Limes
Limes
in Southern Germany often called 'Teufelsmauer'. Grímr and Grim are bynames for Odin
Odin
or Wodan, who might be credited with the wish to build earthworks in unreasonably short periods of time. This name is the same one found as Grim's Ditch several times in England in connection with early ramparts: for example, near Wallingford, Oxfordshire
Wallingford, Oxfordshire
or between Berkhamsted
Berkhamsted
(Herts) and Bradenham (Bucks). Other names used by antiquarians include the Wall of Pius and the Antonine Vallum, after Antoninus Pius.[10][11] Hector Boece
Hector Boece
in his 1527 History of Scotland
Scotland
called it the "wall of Abercorn", repeating the story that it had been destroyed by Graham.[12] World Heritage status[edit]

A near infra-red kite aerial photograph of Kinneil Roman Fortlet, near Bo'ness
Bo'ness
at the eastern end of the Antonine Wall.

The UK government's nomination of the Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
for World Heritage status to the international conservation body UNESCO
UNESCO
was first officially announced in 2003.[13] It has been backed by the Scottish Government since 2005[14] and by Scotland's then Culture Minister Patricia Ferguson since 2006.[15] It became the UK's official nomination in late January 2007,[16] and MSPs were called to support the bid anew in May 2007.[17] The Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
was listed as an extension to the World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
"Frontiers of the Roman Empire" on 7 July 2008.[18][19] Though the Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
is mentioned in the text, it does not appear on UNESCO's map of world heritage properties.[20] Historic Environment Scotland[edit] Several individual sites along the line of the wall are in the care of Historic Scotland. These are at:

Bar Hill Fort[21] Bearsden
Bearsden
Bath House Castlecary[22] Croy Hill Dullatur Rough Castle[23] Seabegs Wood[24] Watling Lodge Westerwood, Cumbernauld

All sites are unmanned and open at all reasonable times.[25] Mapping the wall[edit]

Rough Castle, on the Antonine Wall, drawn by William Roy
William Roy
in 1755

The first capable effort to systematically map[26] the Antonine Wall was undertaken in 1764 by William Roy,[27] the forerunner of the Ordnance Survey. He provided accurate and detailed drawings of its remains, and where the wall has been destroyed by later development, his maps and drawings are now the only reliable record of it. In fiction[edit] The Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
is mentioned in Max Brooks' novel World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War (2006) as the last line of defense in Great Britain against the zombies. The Northern Wall is also depicted in some of Rosemary Sutcliff's historical fiction novels: as a fully functioning outpost of Roman power in The Mark of the Horse Lord
The Mark of the Horse Lord
(1965) and as an abandoned ruin in Frontier Wolf (1980).[28] See also[edit]

Gask Ridge National Museums of Scotland Scotland
Scotland
during the Roman Empire The Bridgeness Slab Trimontium (Newstead) World Heritage Sites in Scotland

References[edit]

^ Robertson, Anne S. (1960) The Antonine Wall. Glasgow Archaeological Society. p. 7. ^ Breeze, David J. (2006) The Antonine Wall. Edinburgh. John Donald. ISBN 0-85976-655-1 p. 167. ^ a b L.Keppie, Scotland's Roman Remains. Edinburgh 1986) ^ Historic Scotland
Scotland
- Looking after our heritage - The Antonine Wall ^ D.J.Woolliscroft & B.Hoffmann, Romes First Frontier. The Flavian occupation of Northern Scotland
Scotland
(Stroud: Tempus 2006) ^ a b Bede
Bede
Historia Ecclesiastica Book I Chapter 12 ^ [1], From Dot to Domesday website ^ "An Additional DESCRIPTION OF THE ROMAN WALL, IN SCOTLAND". Retrieved 15 October 2017.  ^ Camden, William (1722). Britannia, or, A chorographical description of Great Britain and Ireland, together with the adjacent islands (vol 2 ed.). London: Printed by Mary Matthews, for Awnsham Churchill, and sold by William Taylor ... pp. 1283–1292. Retrieved 9 October 2017.  ^ Earthwork of England: prehistoric, Roman, Saxon, Danish, Norman and mediæval - Page 496, by Arthur Hadrian
Hadrian
Allcroft ^ 'Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club - Page 255, by Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club, Hereford, England, G. H. Jack, 1905 ^ Boece, Hector, Historia Gentis Scotorum, (1527), book 7, chapter 16 ^ "Roman wall builds heritage claim". BBC News. 22 February 2003. Retrieved 2007-05-24.  ^ "Roman wall heritage bid backing". BBC News. 14 June 2005. Retrieved 2007-05-24.  ^ "World Heritage bid hope for wall". BBC News. 20 June 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-24.  ^ "World Heritage support for wall". BBC News. 23 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-24.  ^ "MSPs called to support Roman wall". BBC News. 23 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-24.  ^ UNESCO
UNESCO
World Heritage Centre. New Inscribed Properties ^ "Wall gains World Heritage status'" BBC News. Retrieved 8 July 2008. ^ Frontiers of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
- UNESCO
UNESCO
World Heritage Centre ^ "BARHILL ROMAN FORT". castles forts battles. Retrieved 13 August 2016.  ^ "CASTLECARY ROMAN FORT and CASTLECARY TOWER". castles forts battles. Retrieved 13 August 2016.  ^ "ROUGH CASTLE". castles forts battles. Retrieved 13 August 2016.  ^ " Rough Castle
Rough Castle
to Castlecary". Antonine Wall. Retrieved 3 July 2017.  ^ Historic Scotland
Scotland
- Antonine Wall: Overview Property Detail ^ "OS Six Inch 1st edition, 1843-1882". National Library of Scotland. Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 3 July 2017.  ^ Hübner, Emil (1886). "The Roman Annexation of Britain". In Hodgkin, Thomas. Archaeologia Aeliana. New. XI. Newcastle-Upon-Tyne: Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne. pp. 82–116.  ^ Sutcliff, Rosemary (1980). Frontier Wolf. 

External links[edit]

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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Antonine Wall.

Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
– site information from Historic Environment Scotland

http://www.antoninewall.org/ http://www.antonine-way.co.uk http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/antoninewall http://www.kinneil.org.uk/attractions http://www.athenapub.com/antwall1.htm http://www.athenapub.com/britsite/hillfoot.htm http://www.theromangaskproject.org/ https://web.archive.org/web/20060105025602/http://www.roman-britain.org/frontiers/antonine.htm https://web.archive.org/web/20030219165900/http://www.almac.co.uk/FalkirkTCM/Rome.htm The Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
and Bar Hill Richard Stillwell, ed. Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites, 1976: "Antonine Wall, Scotland" Museum news Information on the Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
- Clyde Waterfront Heritage The Antonine Wall: Rome's Final Frontier, Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, Glasgow

v t e

World Heritage Sites in the United Kingdom

England

Bath Blenheim Palace Canterbury Cathedral, St. Augustine's Abbey and St. Martin's Church Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape Derwent Valley Mills Durham Castle
Durham Castle
and Cathedral Frontiers of the Roman Empire

Hadrian's Wall

Ironbridge Gorge Jurassic Coast Kew Royal Botanic Gardens Lake District Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City Maritime Greenwich Saltaire Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites Studley Royal Park
Studley Royal Park
and Fountains Abbey Tower of London Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
and St. Margaret's Church

Scotland

Edinburgh Old Town and New Town Forth Bridge Frontiers of the Roman Empire

Antonine Wall

Heart of Neolithic Orkney New Lanark St. Kilda

Wales

Blaenavon Industrial Landscape Castles and Town Walls of King Edward I in Gwynedd Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Northern Ireland

Giant's Causeway

British Overseas Territories

Gorham's Cave
Gorham's Cave
Complex Gough Island Inaccessible Island Henderson Island Town of St. George and Related Fortifications

Coordinates: 55°58′01″N 4°04′01″W / 55.967°N 4.067°W / 55

.