roman forts

PLACES BEHIND THE FACES

Some brief but interesting background info about the cites where the following English models come from, as knowledge is also beautiful…

Doncaster is in Yorkshire, an was founded about 1,900 years ago, beside a Roman fort. Candy factories opened in the 1800s, an a castle is nearby. In fact the famous chocolate biscuit-bar Kit-Kat was invented locally.

London is the capital of the United Kingdom, as was founded in 43 A.D as an international trading city - which it still is today, 2000 years later. It became the capital of England after the anglo-saxons reclaimed it in 927.

Kent is a county founded by the Jute anglo-saxon tribe and the Cantuci - a Celtic tribe from over 3000 years ago. Queen Anne Boleyn was born here. Kent is known as the garden county an has castle an a major seaport. Link

Liverpool was the worlds first truly international city, as its docks catered for global shipping on a grand scale. The Beatles pop-band originated here as did other bands. Two premiership football clubs are based here.

Sheffield is where modern steel production was founded in the 1800s, with stainless steel being invented here in 1771. Silverware is still made here. In this city originated famous bands like the Human League an Def Leppard.

Bath is a quaint city, which was named after a volcanic spring that was harnessed into a giant public bath house in 60 AD by the Roman empire. This city is considered very picturesque with quaint buildings an streets.

Essex was founded by the eastern Saxons over 1600 years ago. It is the home of Fords European research center, an the band Depeche Mode. The county has a modern city feel to it in the west an countryside to the east.

The “Newcastle” part of the hometown derives from it being the location of a ‘new castle’ in the 12th century. The “Lyme” section refers to the Forest of Lyme that covered the area with lime trees in the medieval period.

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Tre’r Ceiri Iron Age Hill fort, Llyn Peninsula, North Wales, 29.4.17. This has to be one of the most impressive prehistoric sites of the UK given its scale and location. The Iron Age hill fort sits atop a peak and features more than 150 hut foundations and two perimeter walls, in places just under 3 metres in height. The peak of the fort also features a Bronze Age cairn. The entrances to the fort are still visible are as the different shapes of the huts, shelters and roundhouses that emerged over generations. The earlier huts are to a circular, wheel shape with room compartments under one roof whilst later structures are smaller and more oblong with one or two room spaces. At its height, it was thought to be the home for over 400 people. Excavations have found large traces of Roman pottery and it is thought that the Celtic tribes that occupied the site may have traded with the Romans and used the fort as a refuge from Irish invaders. 

flickr

Hardknott Castle. by Alan
Via Flickr:
A Roman Fort overlooking Eskdale. You can see the layout of the fort and to the left is the Roman Bath and Hardknott Pass road. Look even closer and you can see people wandering about.

Burnswark’s bloody Roman history becomes clearer

There’s growing evidence that a landmark flat-topped hill in Dumfriesshire was the site of the first major battle of the Roman invasion of Scotland.

By Willie Johnston, 26 August 2016.

Archaeologists have been trying for 300 years to assess the role of Burnswark in the Roman occupation.New excavations suggest the truth is more bloody than had been thought up to now. Burnswark rises a thousand feet from the Solway plain and is clearly visible from miles around.On its summit the remains of a native hill fort. On the north and south slopes, two huge Roman camps capable of housing 6,000 soldiers or more. But what went on here?

One theory is that the Romans used the abandoned fort to train their men in weaponry - an early firing range. Another suggests that the fort was still occupied by local tribes people and came under prolonged siege to starve them out.

But new evidence points to a third - much bloodier - version of events. Lead archaeologist Andrew Nicholson believes it was the first assault in the Roman invasion of Scotland around 140 AD. "What this probably is, is the start of the Antonine push from Hadrian’s Wall, conquering all of southern Scotland,“ he said. "After the emperor Hadrian has died the new emperor Antoninus Pius needs a victory as the incoming emperor. 

"Southern Scotland is beyond the wall, beyond the borders, it is barbarian and Burnswark and the rest of Annandale and everywhere south of the Forth-Clyde line is its intended target." A two-week dig last summer is being following by another now. “I would suspect that probably nobody survived this and the Roman army moved on into the rest of Scotland.” - John Reid, Trimontium Trust.

Using metal detectors it has been found that massive amounts of lead-shot were fired at the fort - and not in a way indicating target practice. More evidence is the known presence of a general Lollius Urbicus brought here from the Middle East to do the emperor’s dirty work. John Reid of the Roman Heritage group the Trimontium Trust says Urbicus had "previous”. "He made his name in the Jewish war which had taken place in Israel in the previous four years where they had literally gone through the whole of Judea taking hill forts one after the other,“ he said.

"He was given the job of taking Scotland, we know that from Roman literary sources. "So he was here and this is where they blood their troops." It seems very clear they meant business. Many of the lead bullets found at Burnswark have identical 4mm holes in them which, initially, was a mystery. John Reid went to Germany to consult an expert in sling shot ballistics, Joerg Sprave.

And the effect of the hole became obvious when replicas were made and fired.

"You’d hear this screeching noise that you’ve never heard before or experienced before in your life,” explained Mr Nicholson. "What sort of unearthly spirits are these dreadful Romans conjuring up to assail you with amongst all their missiles? "I hear this keening sound through the air and the chap with the spear next to me drops dead and I wonder what on earth is doing it. I’d be utterly terrified.“

So, the personnel involved and the quantity and type of slingshot used suggests complete overkill against a weaker, poorly-armed enemy. "The Romans were well recognised for what is called exemplary violence,” said Mr Reid. "These people literally did suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

“This literally is a site where people suffered an attrition to the very end and I would suspect that probably nobody survived this and the Roman army moved on into the rest of Scotland." More work will be required to prove this new theory definitively and that’s planned in the years ahead. But those involved here are confident that - in police slang - they’ve got the Romans bang to rights.

Antonine Wall at Rough Castle Roman Fort, near Bonnybridge, Falkirk, Scotland

The Antonine Wall is the largest relic of the Roman occupation of Scotland. Built around AD 142, on the orders of the Emperor Antoninus Pius, it marked the northern border to the Roman Empire and was constructed as a defense against the northern tribes. It stretched from Carriden on the Forth to Old Kilpatrick on the Clyde, and was approximately 37 miles long.

Unlike the stone-built Hadrian’s Wall, the Antonine Wall consisted of a rampant of soil faced with turf, resting on a stone foundation. It originally stood 12 feet high, and was protected on the north side by a V-shaped ditch that was 40 feet wide and 12 feet deep(seen here on the left). South of the wall itself ran a cobbled road – the ‘Military Way’ – which linked a network of forts that were built along the wall at intervals of approximately 2 miles. These forts acted as barracks for troops who defended the frontier.

The Antonine Wall was constantly being attacked by the Picts and, by AD160, as the Roman Empire gradually became weaker, the Wall was abandoned as the Roman army retreated to the south.

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So I spent today at the Roman fort of Vindolanda, which stood right on the boarder of what was Roman controlled Britain, and the independent Scotlands.

And the thing which surprised me most was that although it was staffed by one thousand soilders, it was designed to house a population of four thousand, why? Because the solders were expected to bring their families with them.

To a war front. Straight up Star Trek TNG bringing your kid’s along to see you possibly killed by a guy in scary makeup.

But the implication of this is fascinating to me, because Vindolanda was garrisoned, in part, by troops native to Syria and North Africa. Syrian families have been living in Great Britain since 85AD. That’s three and a half centuries before the Anglo-Saxons got here! (You know, the ethnic predecessors of the English)

And don’t tell me “oh, when the Romans left in 410AD they probably took all the Syrians and black people with them” because Vindolanda carried on being occupied and maintained independently for FIVE HUNDRED years after that. By decendants of the families of deceased soilders who decided to stay put when the military left.

Black people and Syrians have been in Great Britain a lot longer than the anglo-saxons have, and not only that by they were land owners too.

Here are three elements we often see in town names:

If a town ends in “-by”, it was originally a farmstead or a small village where some of the Viking invaders settled. The first part of the name sometimes referred to the person who owned the farm - Grimsby was “Grim’s village”. Derby was “a village where deer were found”. The word “by” still means “town” in Danish.

If a town ends in “-ing”, it tells us about the people who lived there. Reading means “The people of Reada”, in other words “Reada’s family or tribe”. We don’t know who Reada was, but his name means “red one”, so he probably had red hair.

If a town ends in “-caster” or “-chester”, it was originally a Roman fort or town. The word comes from a Latin words “castra”, meaning a camp or fortification. The first part of the name is usually the name of the locality where the fort was built. So Lancaster, for example, is “the Roman fort on the River Lune”.

—  A Little Book of Language by David Crystal, page 173.

It’s finally that time again! Each October I post about haunted historic places and creepy artifacts so I’ve made a summary here of my most popular posts from 2012 to 2014 for you. Also, I’ll be making plenty of new Haunted History posts throughout October in addition to my regular history stuff so keep an eye out. Happy Halloween and thanks again for following me! :) Here are the links:

The Birthplace of Halloween

The Real Dracula’s Castle and yes, it’s haunted!

An Ancient Ghost Story by Pliny the Younger

Roman Skull with a Charon’s Obol

The Phantom Roman Army of Flower’s Barrow

Ghosts of Corfe Castle, Dorset

Egyptian Effigy ‘Voodoo’ Doll

Hecate, the Goddess of… Trick or Treating?

The Celtic Coligny Calendar: The Origins of Halloween

Ireland’s Gate to Hell: Oweynagat (The Cave of Cats)

The Pendle Witch’s Cottage with a Bricked-in Mummified Cat

Haunted Hadrian’s Wall: Milecastle 42 Roman Fort

(There’s many more tucked away below…)

Keep reading

Hadrian’s Wall facts
  • The construction of the wall began in 122 CE, under the reign of Roman Emperor Hadrian. It was 80 Roman miles (73 miles) long. Its width and height depended on the availability of the materials then.
  • Apparently a frontier, it was designed to be permeable, to supervise not to deny movement.
  • As time passed the job of guarding the surrounding countryside then gradually fell to men who were recruited from the local population. Manning Hadrians Wall was eventually viewed as a good job by the local population and the job of manning it was passed from father to son, much as with any other occupations of the era.
  • Initially, it was built in two parts, with the west side of the wall built first with turfs, so as to quicken the process of construction. Once the Wall was built, it is assumed to be covered in plaster, then white-washed to reflect the sunbeams which could be visible from far away.
  • Camps of people would accompany each regiment of soldiers at the wall, although little is known of these communities and they weren’t permitted to settle between the Wall and the ditch (or Vallum) that ran along its length.
  • The barrier was the first of two “great walls” created by the Romans in Northern Britain. Years later, on AD 142, the construction of the “Antonine Wall” started at the order of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius 
  • 16 Roman forts were built along the wall - these forts could house up to 800 Roman troops and afforded even greater control across the boundary.
  • On the north side a deep defensive ditch was dug - ensuring that it could only be crossed through the Roman controlled Milecastles or Forts.
  • In 1987, Hadrian’s Wall was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mainz is the capital and largest city of Rheinland-Pfalz in Southwestern Germany. It was the capital of the Electorate of Mainz during the time of the Holy Roman Empire. In antiquity, it was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhein and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Empire; it was founded as a Roman military post in the 1st century BC and became the provincial capital of Germania Superior. The city is located on the Rhein at its confluence with the Main river opposite Wiesbaden in the Frankfurt Rhein-Main metro area. The city is famous for the invention of the movable-type printing press - the first books ever printed using movable type were manufactured by Johannes Gutenberg in Mainz in the early 1450s.

The Phantom Roman Army of Flower’s Barrow

Flower’s Barrow is an Iron Age hillfort, built over 2500 years ago, above Worbarrow Bay in Dorset on the south coast of England. When the Romans arrived, they took over the ancient fortifications. The area is said to be haunted by a phantom Roman army which has been spotted by multiple witnesses several times over the years. The ghost army was first sighted in December of 1678 and actually appeared to be to be real live soldiers. A local squire with his brother and four workmen were all witness to this spectacle where the Romans marched from Flower’s Barrow over Grange Hill. They could even hear the clamor of the armor as the soldiers walked. Alarmed, the squire roused the locals and about 100 people were able to see the phantom army, which included soldiers and horses. Messengers were sent to nearby Wareham to warn them of an approaching army but of course, it never arrived. The army has also been seen nearby at  Bindon Hill and Knowle Hill. This story and more can be found in Haunted England: The Penguin Book of Ghosts by Jennifer Westwood.

Flower’s Barrow has a limited future because the southern part is falling into the sea at Worbarrow Bay due to coastal erosion. Probably more than half of it has already disappeared. The barrow is part of the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site. The coastal exposures along the Jurassic coastline provide a continuous sequence of Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous rock formations spanning approximately 185 million years of the Earth’s history.

Temple of Antenociticus, Benwell (Condercum) Roman Fort, Hadrian’s Wall. Broomridge Avenue, Newcastle upon Tyne.

This is the only temple found so far that was dedicated to Antenociticus, a native British deity or, perhaps, a syncretized Romano-British deity.* The temple site was professionally excavated by G. W. Rendell in 1862. The two altars shown to the right of the temple enclosure are replicas of those dedicated to Antenociticus by Roman officers. The original altars are now located in the Great North Museum:Hancock, at Newcastle upon Tyne, along with the head, forearm, and lower leg of the life-size cult statue of Antenociticus that was excavated here. The statue, probably carved locally, wears a Celtic torque.

Condercum Fort was built between 122-180 CE. The temple was located to the east of the fort, between the ramparts and vallum (rear ditch of Hadrian’s Wall). The Benwell vallum and causeway can be viewed at another small heritage site two streets to the west, on Dennhill Park. The fort was destroyed by fire in 196 CE. The northern third of Condercum fort was submerged in 1863-64 after the construction of a reservoir. The surrounding houses were built on the remains of the fort in the 1930s.

A carved stone head, which resembles the head of Antenociticus found on this site, was discovered during the summer of 2013 at Binchester (Vinovium) Roman Fort, near Bishop Auckland, in County Durham, which is 55km/33 miles south of Benwell.

The Benwell Roman Temple site is open daily, 9-5.

If I lived near a place like this, I would stop by several times a week. I think it gives some food for thought to modern pagans and polytheists wishing to create a modern temple for public worship. The acquisition of a small plot of land, with a cement altar or two, purchased and dedicated by supporters of the project, wouldn’t be especially attractive to vandals, and could provide rental income to help support the eventual construction of a more ambitious temple. 


*Although the hairstyle of the statue resembles that of the Hellenistic god Antinous, there has been no scholarly support for the recent theory that “Antenociticus” is sycretization of Antinous with a local British god called Citicus, nor has any reference to a Celtic god called Citicus yet been reported.

an au where benny wears the dog hat and vulpes wears the checkered suit.
the chairmen all dress like legionaries.
The Tops is decorated with corpses and Roman banners.
The Fort is swanky as hell.
Caesar’s legion all wears checkered suits and uses 50’s slang. it’s straight endsville for the town of nipton, baby. Legionnaires all adopt flirty attitudes and get the exact same haircut. They crucify entire towns in style, and try not to get blood on their fancy-dancy suits.
The Courier wakes up in Goodsprings, feeling kind of dazed and confused and fiery. She begins to ask after the man who shot her. “have you seen a guy in a dog hat around here?”
Arriving in Nipton meeting Vulpes “Nipton was a town full of finks, baby, but they sure got what was comin’ to them. They got outplayed, and now the Legion is cashing in all their chips. Baby, the odds are stacked in our favor now.” But like in his regular monotone voice.

Pretty late to the party, but I’ve always wanted to recount this story.

When I was in high school, a group of friends and I did an archeological dig of a Roman fort in Southsheilds, UK. I had never been out of the US, so we took the train up to Edinburgh for some sightseeing. We really enjoyed ourselves, until the evening when we went out for drinks. As we were walking back to our hotel, a group of two women, and one man approached our group. For whatever reason, I was overcome with anxiety. As they got closer I saw that they were three of the most beautiful and arrogant looking people I’d ever seen. Bright blue eyes, perfect hair, perfectly fitted, all black clothing. Everyone is my group noticed, they seemed (for lack of a better term) ‘powerful’.

What happened next blew my mind, they came up to us, and inquired as to what we were doing, etc. we sort of half-lied, and stood there awkwardly. Someone mentioned that we were heading to London the following day. One of the women looked at us and said that we must avoid the tube and buses, and that it would be best to get out of the country ASAP.

By that point we were all extremely creeped out, but made it to our hotel, the following morning we took an early flight back to London, and took a cab to our hotel. That was the day of the London tube bombings.

Six years later I’m visiting my girlfriend who was getting her MS at the university of Edinburgh, we’re at some pub, and I see the woman and man who talked to me half a decade ago, she approached me and said that I was right to have taken her advice (I look completely different now).

It was the single most spine-chilling event of my life, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

[Story credit: /u/BoozingCactus]