A day trip to Edinburgh by air yesterday, and the sun shone on me which makes all the difference. While in a bookshop, my eye fell on a book with the title “Roman Scotland.” Of course we don’t think of Scotland as having a Roman past, but it does, at least as far as the Antonine Wall and a few outlying forts.
There is archaeology for the Antonine Wall. But I was wondering what the literary sources for it are. Does anyone know?
7 thoughts on “Sources for the Antonine Wall”
None. The Wall of Hadrian is mentioned once (in the Historia Augusta). That’s all.
Good grief. Are you sure? No references to it at all?
Not true, there is one, but only one direct literary reference to it:
“Antonine waged a large number of wars through his governors. Through the governor Quintus Lollius Urbicus he defeated the Britons and having driven back the barbarians, he built another wall, this time of turf”
SHA, Antoninus Pius, 5.4
That’s your lot, though some argue that Cassius Dio 73.8 refers to Antonine rather than Hadrian’s Wall.
There is, however, a load of epigraphic evidence. It was built primarily by the II Augusta, VI Victrix, XX Valeria Victrix, 6th Cohort of Nervii, 1st Cohort of Baetasii, 1st Cohort of Cungerni. RIB has details.
Forgot, there is also Dio 77.12: “There are two principal races of the Britons, the Caledonians and the Maeatae, and the names of the others have been merged in these two. The Maeatae live next to the cross-wall which cuts the island in half, and the Caledonians are beyond them”. The Maeatae inhabited central Scotland.
Thank you Adrian. Not a lot, but something!
What is RIB?
It is the Roman Inscriptions of Britain. You can get it online here: http://www.roman-britain.org/epigraphy/rib_scotland.htm
Thanks for the RIB link. Not as good as Clauss-Slaby, but better than nothing.