Frontiers of the Roman Empire
The Frontiers of the Roman Empire is a serial site that comprises parts of the Limes Romanus, a border defense or delimiting system of Ancient Rome.
The two sections of the Upper German-Raetian Limes
in Germany cover a length of 550 km from the north-west of the country to the Danube in the south-east.
The Hadrian’s Wall
was built under the orders of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in AD 122. It took soldiers six years to build a wall 80 Roman miles long (117km) on the border of what is now England and Scotland. Emperor Hadrian built this wall "to separate Romans from Barbarians": it formed the most northern border of his empire. Later, there was some Roman expansion further north, resulting in the Antonine Wall
Visit August 2004
I toured the eastern part of Hadrian's Wall by bus from Newcastle, in the appropriately named AD122. This public bus stops at all things worth seeing along the way, so you can hop off and catch a later bus after you've visited the site. A good service I think.
My first stop was at Housesteads, the remains of a fort just at the wall. Because it was built on a hill, there are fine views over the countryside here.
Vindolanda is a bigger complex, somewhat inland from the wall. This Roman site is actually older than Hadrian's wall itself. Archeological excavations are still under way here, and some reconstruction has been done so it is easier to imagine how it has looked like in ancient times.
It's also the finding place of the historically quite spectacular Roman writing tablets, that tell about daily life in this area in Roman times.
More photos can be found in the Picture Gallery
|Ingemar Eriksson (Sweden):|
I visited the Roman Museum in Aalen which is east of Stuttgart along B29 road. It is a museum built at the site of a roman cavalry fort along the Limes. Actual ruins of the fort outside. Several other places along the Limes i identified and preserved or rebuilt. There is also a Trail along at least parts of the Limes in Germany, look for "Limeswanderweg" in your search programme.
As Limes mainly was built of wood, it is not likely much could survive up to now. They have rebuilt tower for guardians some 10 km east of Aalen and in the same areas are some other sites to look at.
| Date posted: June 2012|
|Ian Cade (England):|
I had previously resisted the temptation to tick off this site by visiting the remnants of Hadrian’s Wall in suburban Tyneside, so to do the site some justice I decided to walk a craggy 20km stretch of the wall between Once Brewed and Chollerford on an overcast Saturday in June.
This was an exceptionally rewarding walk taking in the wall at its scenic best. The first section from Once Brewed until Housesteads was particularly impressive, especially the dip down to Sycamore Gap. It was a fairly strenuous trek, but the wall was continuously visible on this stretch and viewing it meandering up and down the hills was really rewarding. It was surprising just how much archaeology there is at this site. We had a look at ruins at Houseteads and Chesters, both of which were large sets of ruins and would be worthy of inscription by themselves, however there were turrets, milecastles and remains of temples popping up consistently along the 20km we walked. It must be a real delight for archaeologist to know just how much information they can gain from these sites.
Like many others here we used the AD 122 bus which was a very useful way of getting to the start of our walk, and I imagine would be exceptionally useful if wanting explore the sites along the wall without your own transport. I runs from Newcastle which I think is one of England’s most interesting cities so gives you a chance to mix and urban stay with a bit of rural sight-seeing.
I am pretty sure I will return to Hadrian’s wall at some stage in the future, and I would also be keen to visit the sites in Scotland and Germany to see the other incarnations of the roman frontier. The walk along the middle section of the wall was a really great way to get some exercise and also visit one of Britain’s best historic sights.
[Site 7: Experience 8]
| Date posted: June 2011|
|John Booth (New Zealand):|
Having now visited the boundaries of the Roman Empire in Britain and Germany I must say that the British wall is much more visible, and accessible thanks to the AD122 bus. Saalburg is indeed an interesting reconstructed fort in a pleasant forest location on a hilltop. I reached it by bus from Bad Homburg. From the fort I walked downhill through the forest passing several marked watchtower foundations along the way, to reach Saalburg station.
Near Neuwied on the Rhine I found some excavations of Roman Baths in Niederbieber, and a reconstructed watchtower on a hilltop in Oberbieber. Both were reached by bus # 101 from Neuwied.
In Miltenberg on the Main river there is an interesting museum displaying a number of Roman artifacts found along the Limes in that area.
In Aschaffenburg I visited the Pompejanum, a reconstructed Roman villa.
Near Konigstein in the Taunus I visited Kleine Feldberg, an excavated fort and bathhouse up a track from the Rote Kreutz bus stop at Glasshutten.
There are many other locations worth investigating listed on the Limesstrasse website, but they recommend travelling by bicycle if you want to travel the whole distance.
| Date posted: October 2010|
|Jay Wills (United Kingdom):|
As a proud Northumbrian I have a keen interest in what happens to Hadrian's Wall. This summer I have been looking at it in depth for part of my University work. Visiting Vindolanda for the first time in about ten years, as well as Housesteads for the first time ever, has been very enjoyable - despite the dismal weather during my visit to the former. For anyone who does not have the benefit of a car to get around, using the AD122 bus is a must.
Also, this summer I took a trip to Germany to visit Saalburg for myself. It is genuinely a fascinating place. In terms of value for money it was excellent. The bus fare from Bad Homburg station, as well as the entry fee, were both very reasonable. For any aficianados of Roman history, visiting Hadrian's Wall and Saalburg are a must!
| Date posted: September 2008|
|David Berlanda (Italy / Czech Republic):|
In our trip to Germany we have visited the Roman fort of Saalburg, part of the 220 kilometres Limes barrier Raeatian section, one of the walls that have been marking the boundaries of the Roman empire for some centuries. The original fort (90 AD) covered an area of about 0,70 hectares and had a rectangular plan with corner towers. In 135 AD was built a larger fort, of 3,2 hectares (221 by 147 metres), over the earlier one, with four gates, a stone and timber defence wall with rampart walk and a double ditch. The remains of many internal buildings have been excavated and entirely reconstructed in stone and timber under the emperor William II. There are the granary, the commander’s quarters, the barrack blocks for the common soldiers and the headquarters buildings with the monumental assembly room the colonnaded courtyard, the rooms, the offices and the armouries. Interesting are the reconstructions of a barrack room, home to a squad of eight soldiers who lived in close quarters, of the richly decorated officer’s dining room, of the regimental shrine, the spiritual and religious centre of the fort, of the ovens and of the “restaurant”. Between the remains of the civilian settlement just outside the fort there is a bath house, a guest house, the cellars and the wells of the private houses and the reconstructions of the Jupiter column and of the Temple of Mithras. Near the fort there is a reconstruction of the limes at an ancient border crossing and a long elevation of the soil where it passed.
I quite liked the fort because it’s an impressive example of a Roman border fort, even if we have visited the remains outside the fort quite in a hurry, because they are in a wood and it was raining. The fort is worth of visit if you are in Hesse and I think that the Limes absolutely justifies the inscription, but in my opinion with the Limes in Germany and the Hadrian’s Wall in UK can be inscribed the whole boundaries of the Roman Empire in many countries. The state of conservation of the building is sometimes very good (the reconstructions), and sometimes they are ruined, but I think that the reconstruction of the fort, even if it has a historical value because it is of the 19th century, was a completely wrong decision that compromises completely its authenticity and the only authentic buildings are those ruined outside the fort. It is easy to reach Saalburg: you have to exit from the highway A5 going from Darmstadt to Bad Hersfeld at Bad Homburg and then take the road B456; you have to pay to visit the fort, but not the remains around it (if you want to see them well, walk on the Saalburg Circuit Road, 2,4 kilometres long, that brings you to the Limes and to the other remains).
Photo: Saalburg - Fort walls
|Frederik Dawson (Netherlands):|
Upper German-Raetian may be not well known compared to its' counterpart in England and I understand why it is not popular among tourists.
The German parts of Roman frontiers are hard to see as it was almost entirely built by wood and right now most of them are just many small traces on the grassland or the few stones in the forest. It is really hard for normal people to appreciate this site. The only place you can get some imagination of Roman fortress is Saalburg, just north of Frankfurt, which has a fully reconstruction fort and some good museum. Saalburg Fort has been mentioned in ICOMOS document as the only new reconstruction part of German-Raetian that ICOMOS accepted as a WHS, so it tells you something about the quality of this place.
The best way to see Saalburg is to take a train to Bad Homburg and then take another small train to Saalburg. In Saalburg, follow the sign “Romerkasteel Saalburg” for about 2 km. In this hiking route you will walkthrough lovely forest and some traces of the Raetian (which is quite fascinating to see some ruins left in the German forest), after a good long walk in nature you may be shock (like me) when you discovered Saalburg fort is just next to a very busy German Highway!
| Date posted: August 2006|
|Klaus Freisinger (Austria):|
After a long period of aggressive expansion, the time had to come for one Roman emperor to put a stop to it and say out loud that Rome was not actually destined to rule the entire world and that the Empire had to have stable borders. This man was Hadrian, and to secure the borders of the Province of Britannia, he had this magnificent wall built between the coasts of the North and Irish Seas to separate, as the famous statement goes, "the Romans from the Barbarians". (Later, though, the borders were pushed even further north, when the Romans built the Antonine Wall in today´s Glasgow-Edinburgh area and the south of Scotland was also part of the Empire). Breathtaking views make a hike along the wall a wonderful experience (and you can see the oaktree featured in Robin Hood-Prince of Thieves, by the way..) that nourishes your body as well as your mind. Roman history and their way of thinking rarely can be appreciated so closely.
As stated above, it´s surprisingly easy to visit the Wall, at least coming (as I did) from Newcastle, where the AD122 bus waits for you. The sites of Vindolanda, Housesteads, and Chesters are especially interesting and give a great overview of the area´s history and archaeology, especially about the Romans´ daily life. Many letters from the soldiers posted here have survived, and some are surprisingly comic, like the auxiliary troops from Spain and Syria complaining about the miserable weather. I went there on a glorious (but probably rare) summer day, but I think the area is interesting even in winter. One of the best sights I have seen in all Britain.
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