The Frontiers of Imperial Rome

The author prepared the bid for World Heritage Site status for the Antonine Wall and is the leading archaeologist in the study of the frontier zones of Imperial Rome. This is a work of scholarship that is very readable and very well illustrated – Most Highly Recommended.

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NAME: The Frontiers of Imperial Rome
FILE: R2991
AUTHOR: David J Breeze
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: soft back
PRICE: £14.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Rome, Roman Empire, Imperial Rome, frontiers, boundaries, fixed 
defences, fortifications, watch towers, forts, legionary forts, temporary defences, 
UNESCO, World Heritage sites

ISBN: 1-52676-080-0

IMAGE: B2991.jpg
BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y39eddc5
LINKS: 
DESCRIPTION: The author prepared the bid for World Heritage Site status for the 
Antonine Wall and is the leading archaeologist in the study of the frontier zones of 
Imperial Rome. This is a work of scholarship that is very readable and very well 
illustrated –    Most Highly Recommended.

There has long been an acceptance that written history must be right even when all 
the evidence points against this assumption. Through history, many of the 
achievements of leaders have been recorded initially in aural history and then written 
down at some point in the future. In writing down the events, the authors may have 
been heavily influenced by religious and secular leaders, on whose patronage they 
depended. 

Until modern archaeology became established, written history was taken above aural 
history, but more recently, archaeologists have become arbiters of history and 
corrected many of the incorrect accepted versions of history. There is still a capacity 
to introduce error because an archaeologist is interpreting 'finds' in modern terms. 
An example was the discovery of a viable electric battery from ancient Syria. It is 
possible to look at the earthenware container, its stopper, its electrodes, and its 
electrolyte, but who invented it? Why? and for what application? is conjecture. There 
is a high probability that it was used to plate base metals with precious metals but 
there are many other possible uses. It is an example of archaeologists discovering 
some artefact previously unrecorded in any verbal or written history and raising many 
questions that, as yet, are unanswered. Perhaps a future archaeologist will uncover 
other related artefacts that will provide an explanation.

In this book, the author has collected together what we currently know about the way 
in which Imperial Rome marked and protected its boundaries around the known 
world. Although much information was written down at the time by Romans, and has 
survived to this day, archaeology is uncovering much new material and fuelling a 
thirst for further knowledge. In gaining World Heritage Status for the sites, we are 
going some way to protecting what is still to be uncovered before it is destroyed in 
ignorance.

The author has produced clear and readable text to advance his view and this is very 
effectively supported through the body of text by many maps, plans and drawings in 
monochrome. A colour plate section then reinforces the illustrations through the main 
body of text.

The Romans used stone, mortar and concrete in their permanent defensive works. 
Many of these structures have survived and been adapted further down the centuries 
because they were so well built. Many more may no longer be visible and await 
discovery. To these must be added the defensive works that were either temporary, or 
constructed from wood because it was a readily available material, or because the 
most rapid construction was required. A legion on the march needed to camp 
periodically. A wise commander created temporary defences by digging ditches and 
erecting simple fencing so that an enemy could not make a surprise attack on a 
sleeping army. Where the legion was halted for a longer period, those simple defences 
might be strengthened and later developed further as part of the administration and 
logistics systems. Where the reconstruction was undertaken with more durable 
materials it may have survived to this day, or lies just under a covering of soil. As 
ground penetrating radar, 3D laser scanning and other technologies become widely 
available much more may yet be discovered.

This book provides the picture as we currently see it and is a most useful basis for an 
understanding of what is known and a point from which new discovers may be set out.