The final season of the popular show Game of Thrones is almost upon us, but much of the world that George R.R. Martin created was inspired by true events. This would include Hadrian’s Wall in England and the Antonine Wall in Scotland. These walls were the boundary of the known world for the Romans during the second century. Just as fan favorite, Jon Snow, looked out into the great unknown from atop the icy Wall, it would have been just as intimidating for the Romans who looked over these historical walls at the expanse of Scotland. They were at the edge of their known world, which could have been very intimidating. So, while there may not have been white walkers, to the Romans, there could have been anything.
With this post I wanted to pay more attention to the lesser known Antonine Wall rather than the more established Hadrian’s wall. The Antonine Wall was the furthest point that the Roman empire stretched into Britannia. It was only manned for about twenty five years before the wall was abandoned. The wall cut modern Scotland in half as it crossed the land between Clyde to Forth (about 37 miles long). It was made mostly out of layers of turf rather than stone (like Hadrian’s) with a deep ditch that ran along with it. Forts would have been laid out along the wall, including Rough Castle, which would hold the 7,000 men that would have been stationed there. There would have also been a military service road that connected those at the wall with the rest of the empire in Britain. Continue reading “Roman Frontiers: Antonine Wall”→
As seen in my previous post, Boudica had surpassed all expectations. She shocked the ancient world by inspiring an army of thousands of Britons to finally take back what had been theirs originally. They were fighting against the abuses her people had faced for seventeen years at the hands of the Romans. Boudica and her warriors had burnt the great city of Camulodunum to the ground and decimated the ninth legion. Fear spread quickly across the the land, but Governor Paulinus was not about to be defeated…
Boudica’s next target was Londinium (modern day London), which (at the time) was a relatively new city. It was created to be a trading port with the continent and was mostly populated by traders, craftsmen, and wealthy citizens. Londinium was estimated to have a population of about 30,000. This wealthy city was ripe for looting and, unfortunately for the citizens, there was no military presence (especially with the ninth legion now inoperable). The second legion was called in to fight, yet they failed to arrive. The people of Londinium knew that they were ill prepared. Continue reading “Boudica’s Quest for Vengeance Part 2”→
This is a post (well now posts) I have been looking forward to creating for a while. It is the story of Boudica, the warrior queen, who led her army of Britons on to fight against their Roman oppressors in 60 AD. Not much is known about her personally, yet her legend lives on through books, shows, statues, art, etc. The name Boudica is easiest to understand as a Celtic version of Victoria, this meaning Victory. There is speculation whether this was truly her name, or a title given to her. Before I begin her tale, we must discuss some background knowledge of Romanized Britannia that will give context to the story. Also, note that most of the primary sources historians use are Roman writings of the events and archaeological evidence. There are no written sources from the Britons themselves. Continue reading “Boudica’s Quest for Vengeance Part 1”→
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love to dress up and be someone else for a day. I love the candy and, most of all, carving pumpkins! Where did these traditions come from? As I wrote in my Druids post the other week, many of these traditions are derived from extremely old sources.
Halloween itself finds its origins in the ancient Celtic/Druid festival of Samhain. The Celts believed that just before winter the barriers between our world and the world of the dead were much thinner than usual. The souls of the dead, it was believed, were able to roam between the worlds as they pleased. Continue reading “The Legend of the Jack O’Lantern”→
It’s almost Halloween so let’s talk about magic in history! I’ve always wanted to learn more about the Celts and especially the druids. Unfortunately, almost nothing is known about the druids except through outside Roman sources, which are naturally biased. There were no written records coming directly from the druids or the Celtic civilizations. There are a lot of misconceptions about the druids due to Roman influence, but also many things that I personally did not know before.
The druids were considered extremely powerful in Celtic society and were basically untouchable. They were society’s religious leaders, people of wisdom and essentially their own separate entity which could overrule most others in society. Being the highest members in society it was stated that they were exempt from taxes, from military service, and almost above the law. They were able to, in a way, to excommunicate people Continue reading “The Power of the Druids”→