What remains of emperor Hadrian’s wall is today a UNESCO World Heritage site and can be seen in Northern England. Historians are divided when it comes to the reason as to why the wall was built. A third believe that it was built as a defensive wall. “To separate the Romans from the barbarians” wrote Hadrian’s biographer. The barbarians he was referring to were the Picts – a tribal community living in modern day Scotland.
Another theory is that the wall was built to control the movement of goods. The check points along the wall provided points of entry and exit into the Roman empire and thus would have formed a ideal location to levy tax. Something had to fund the many wars in the many places that the the Romans had gotten themselves into!
The third belief is that the wall had no purpose but to make a political point. The white washed walls reflecting the sunlight would have been visible for miles and a constant reminder about the vastness of the Roman empire.
The original wall was about 117 km long and was wide enough for 2 guards to stand side by side for sentry duty. The engineers of the Roman army designed and built this wall. Along the wall there were hospitals and granaries and other necessities to ensure that the men of the Roman army were comfortable.
The stones that have survived the attacks by picts and by nature lie today surrounded by green fields and guarded by sheep, lots of sheep.