Forty years after the Emperor Claudius conquered southern Britain in 43 CE, the Roman governor, Gnaeus Julius Agricola, led a force of 20,000 troops northwards into the country known by the Romans as Caledonia (Scotland).
Unlike the rest of Britain, Scotland was never considered part of the Roman Empire. The Roman armies invaded Scotland several times and even defeated the northern tribes a few times, but they never controlled Scotland.
Defending their Empire
To control their newly won territory in England, the Romans built heavily defended forts around the country. Most famous of all, on the northern edge of their British territory, the Romans built a coast-to-coast wall to protect Roman England from the tribes who lived in Scotland.
Hadrian's Wall was built so well, that you can still go and see parts of it today, nearly 2000 years after it was made.
Hadrian's Wall was a stone barrier built to separate the Romans and the Picts tribes in Scotland. It allowed Roman soldiers to control the movements of people coming into or leaving Roman Britain.
Every Roman mile along the Wall there was a milecastle, a fortified gateway which allowed Roman soldiers to go on patrol to the north of Hadrian’s Wall and control other people passing through the Wall.
Between the milecastles were two turrets at regular intervals from which soldiers could keep watch over the surrounding countryside.
Photograph on the right show the remains of a turret.
The remains of a turret
During the building of the Wall, it was decided to add forts. There were 16 forts in total along the length of the Wall. These meant that even more Roman soldiers were based along the wall and the frontier was more effectively controlled.
Housesteads (Vercovicium) Roman Fort
Housesteads is the best-known fort on Hadrian,s Wall. It covers 5 acres (2 hectares).
It was 117 kilometers (73 miles) long across the narrow neck of England, from the North Sea to the Irish Sea. (see map)
The wall was eight to ten feet wide and fifteen feet high.
The Romans began building the wall in 122 A.D.
The Romans built it because they were afraid that the people of the north might attack them. The wall was built between Roman Britain and Scotland.
It took about 14 years to complete Hadrian's Wall. The largest structure ever made by the Romans.
Hadrians Wall was built on the orders of the Roman emperor Hadrian. It was constructed by three legions of soldiers.
Hadrian was born in Rome in A.D. 76. He became Emperor of Rome in A.D. 117 and ruled for 21 years until A.D. 138.
Hadrian came to visit Britain in A.D. 122, one of the many stops on a tour of the western provinces of the Roman Empire. His mission was to strengthen the defences along the northern Roman Empire. It is likely that during this visit that he ordered the construction of the Wall.
Hadrian's Wall -
Find out about the layout of the wall and what was the Wall for.
Everything you need to know about Hadrian's Wall