Hadrian’s Wall

Written by Adrian Goldsworthy
Review by Edward James

The Landmark Library is a series of books published by Head of Zeus, each devoted to ‘a crucial theme in the history of civilisation’.  Hadrian’s Wall is one of the six titles published so far.  Although a wall across England is not obviously crucial to the history of civilisation (it is puny compared to the Great Wall of China) Adrian Goldsworthy makes a good case for it being not only a feat of engineering but also that keeping it garrisoned for over 300 years by two to three legions was a triumph of logistics and organisation.  Only a large and rich empire could have supported this and when the Roman empire broke up the Wall inevitably fell into disuse.

Hadrian’s Wall has fascinated historical novelists since Kipling.  If you are interested in writing or reading about the Wall or just visiting it, this short book is a superb introduction. The maps and illustrations are excellent and there is also a succinct account of how the Roman army was recruited and organised.