The Edge of the Empire

You can’t really go far in Northumberland without coming into contact with something Roman.

This was once the frontier of Britain.

The Edge of the Roman Empire.

It consisted of 73 miles of wall built under the orders of the Emperor Hadrian to act as a defensive barrier as well as an access control point into the Roman Empire. It ran from just outside modern day Carlisle on the west of England to Newcastle upon Tyne in the East.

To coincide with Remembrance Day weekend, I thought it would be quite apt to write a bit about the Roman Army who were once stationed on what they must have thought was the edge of world.

The best place to start when visiting the Hadrian’s Wall area (in our opinion anyway) is the Roman Army Museum. It is a fabulous museum, packed with excellent information, starting with a 3D movie – approximately 20 minutes long. It puts the whole area into context and the value the Roman Empire placed on Hadrian’s Wall.

Excellent displays about the Roman Army structure, weaponry, strategy and the challenges the soldiers endured while being stationed so far from their home which could be anywhere in the Roman Empire, not necessarily Rome itself.

A very emotive memorial at Vindolanda to the Roman soldiers who served along Hadrian’s Wall, specifically at Vindolanda, during the Roman occupation between AD122 and AD476

Lest we forget their service to a once formidable Empire, SQPR.

In memory of the soldiers (cohorts and legions) who served Rome at Vindolanda

Next time, more about the best-preserved Roman Forts along Hadrian’s Wall we visited including a bit more about the sister site to the Roman Army Museum, Vindolanda.

To note: The Roman Army Museum is part of the Vindolanda Charitable Trust along with its sister site, Vindolanda Roman Fort. (Unfortunately, I didn’t realise that the Roman Army Museum is now closed until mid February 2022 but you can still pre-book tickets online here if you want to visit Vindolanda which is still open.)

Worth remembering that there is a dual ticket option for future visits.

Links included are for information only and aren’t affiliate links. Opinions expressed are our own based on personal experience.

All images used are personal photographs taken during a visit to Northumberland in October 2021.

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