Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Hadrian's Wall

And so to the Wall.

More specifically to Housesteads fort. They've got a little museum there, with a wall full of altars and Germanic gods. I love the plaque of the three genii cucullati- cute little chaps in pointy hoods- who are called "gods" on the label but look more like lucky pixies to me. 

The Wall is all alone up there on the hills. You drive or walk to it on a road that is merely a metalled farm track. The fields are full of sheep. The engineers chose a natural fold in the land to string it out along, with the slope gentle on the Roman side, precipitous on the Pictish. It no longer represents any kind of national barrier. Cross it and you're still in England. Scotland doesn't happen for many more miles.

I don't understand how it can be at once so neat and so skinny. I understand that in its heyday two legionnaires could walk along the top abreast. I guess what we're looking at is a rebuild. Damn those antiquarians!

Housesteads fort is huge. It's all there- the ground-plan anyway- marked out in low walls and rubble. I liked the latrines (2nd picture) the best.

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