Antonine Wall

views updated May 11 2018

Antonine Wall. The second and more northerly of the two walls constructed across northern Britain by the Romans in the 2nd cent. On the death of Hadrian in ad 138 his successor Antoninus Pius demonstrated his military capabilities by reoccupying Scotland up to the Forth–Clyde line. Following the example of his predecessor he had a linear barrier constructed, running from the Forth, west of modern Edinburgh, to the Clyde, west of modern Glasgow. Only half the length (37 miles) of Hadrian's Wall, the Antonine Wall was constructed of turf on a stone base. It apparently differed from the earlier wall in having forts of varying sizes at intervals, supposedly the better to deal with local conditions. It also seemingly lacked the milecastles and turrets of Hadrian's Wall. Recent excavations have shown that in fact the Antonine Wall was laid out as a version of Hadrian's Wall and construction was well advanced before the changes which distinguish it were implemented. The wall was briefly abandoned, then reoccupied in the mid-150s, and abandoned for good after Antoninus' death in 161.

Alan Simon Esmonde Cleary

Antonine Wall

views updated May 18 2018

Antonine Wall a defensive fortification running across the narrowest part of southern Scotland between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde, built c.140 ad, in the reign of the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius (86–161).