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Policing Roman Britain in VS .NET
Policing Roman Britain
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The Romans had come to stay They covered Britain with a network of paved roads that ran straight for mile after mile, up hill and down dale Most can be traced to this day and some form the foundation of modern trunk roads The Romans dotted the countryside with small forts and built great legionary fortresses such as Lincoln, Caerleon, Chester, and York that are still important towns and cities Indeed, any modern place name that includes the element -chester, -caster, or -cester indicates the site of a Roman camp or fortification This network helped to keep the Britons peaceful It wasn t all plain sailing for the Romans; in total, the conquest of Britain took 41 years:
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2: Swords, Sandals, and Geometry: The Romans
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In AD 74 77 Petilius Cerealis, one of Emperor Vespasian s ablest generals, conquered the troublesome Silures in South Wales and the Brigantes in northern England In AD 77 Gnaeus Julius Agricola succeeded Cerealis and during a series of campaigns, some of which the Roman fleet supported, advanced north into Scotland (then known as Caledonia) The decisive battle was in AD 83 at Mons Graupius, probably some miles northwest of Aberdeen, which resulted in a shattering defeat for an alliance of Caledonian tribes The most enduring reminder of the Roman presence in Britain is Hadrian s Wall, stretching coast to coast for 73 miles from Bowness-on-Solway to Wallsend-on-Tyne Work on the wall commenced under Emperor Hadrian in AD 122 Its construction took advantage of every cliff, crag, and steep hill on its course, but where necessary a ditch fronted it A milecastle, providing
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The mystery of Legio IX Hispana
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In AD 117 the 9th Legion marched north from its base at York to deal with a tribal uprising in Caledonia After that date it vanishes altogether from the Roman army s records Some 1,800 years later, archaeologists digging at the Roman city of Silchester in Berkshire discovered its Eagle, with its wings stripped off Was the legion massacred somewhere in Scotland And, if so, how was its Eagle saved and carried into southern England If the Legion was destroyed, why have later tiles bearing its stamp turned up in Nijmegen And what about later funerary altars erected in memory of members of the Legion Do these fragments prove its continued existence after AD 117 Rosemary Sutcliff provides one answer in her fiction book The Eagle of the Ninth In her story the Legion has become badly disciplined and is massacred On learning that its Eagle is now housed in a barbarian temple, the hero sets out to recover it, which he succeeds in doing after many adventures What is certain is that the 6th Legion was shipped over from the continent to garrison York This happened shortly after the 9th marched north and suggests that some sort of disaster occurred for the 6th to be drafted in Some of the 9th may have survived whatever took place, as someone took steps to preserve the Eagle the very symbol of the Legion s honour in its final resting place in Silchester Alternatives to massacre are mutiny provoked by bad leadership and flight in the face of the enemy The punishment for mutiny and cowardice was decimation of the Legion, disbandment, dispersion, removal from the army s list, and withdrawal of the Eagle In this case the stripping of the Eagle s wings looks like an intentional slight, similar to the ceremonial breaking of a disgraced officer s sword If this happened, the 9th s survivors were dispersed to other units Those sent to Nijmegen, probably from the Legion s rear party in York, may have defiantly continued to use the tile stamp to emphasise their own innocence in the affair That s the best solution I can come up with, and if you can think of a better one I d like to hear it!
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