Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

What you have here is an old guy. In education for 30 years, started teaching elementary, ended as library and media director of community college. I've enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival, walking and hiking later in life. Now fairly sedentary. Enjoy reading, esp. mysteries and fantasy, but my reading is pretty eclectic. Enjoy movies, giving Netflix a workout.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Hadrian's Wall and the Fossatum Africae

I've been readin a book entitled Hadrian's Wall by David J. Breeze and Brian Dobson. The latter is one of the experts who comments on a fine DVD of Hadrian's Wall from the History Channel. I'm particularly intrigued with the wall because I've been along its length and have been fascinated in particular with two sites we visited. One was the excavation of Vindolanda, which has been going on for twenty-five years. The other was an excavation of a temple to Mithra near Chesters. The statuary found there is now in the London Museum but has been replaced with replicas so one can see what a Mithraic temple was like when the Roman army was on the wall. The religion of Mithra was particularly strong with the Roman army.

Last evening as I was reading I came across a reference to the Fossatum Africae. This was a new term to me. In trying to reseach it via Google today I found that the first five pages of references were in French. So it appears that the French are at the forefront of research there. I finally found a site in English. From it I learned that it was a wall also, apparently built at the same time as Hadrian's wall. It was in what is now Algeria and Tunisia and was about 2500 miles in length. It was comprised of ditches approximately 8 ft. deep with a mud brick wall not more than 8 ft. high with towers at intervals. Here apparently was the southern border of the Roman Empire as Hadrian's Wall set the northern limits in England. Apparently there was also a wall or palisade in eastern Europe setting the limits of empire. So that's your little history lesson for today.


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