Saturday, 27 August 2016

The Roman way

We’re back in the land of usable WiFi after walking for over forty miles along the route of Hadrian’s Wall. First impressions did not change much along the way - this is an amazing structure which doesn't become any less amazing as yet another ruined turret is identified. 

More than any number of books, the Wall itself with its forts, turrets and milecastles is a forceful reminder of just how powerful the reach of ancient Rome must have been. One is left wondering how on earth they did it. And why. 

Lovely varied walking country too. No TV, no newspapers and very little internet because it was so slow and unreliable. We realised just how relaxing the walk had been as we encountered the outskirts of Newcastle on the way home. It was a common enough sight, merely a hillside covered in houses.

There may be something over the top about Hadrian’s Wall and not for a millisecond would I wish to go back to those savage days, but one day perhaps our building mania will be seen in a similar light. A machine-like mania where the process is the real emperor.


James Higham said...

You walked for 40 miles along it? Wow.

Sam Vega said...

Coincidence! We were there yesterday (Saturday) afternoon, visiting Housesteads. It is indeed a remarkable structure. It encourages long reflective thought, rather than frenetic thinking. I suppose it is the combination of size, and the timescales involved.

Demetrius said...

Rome. One grain supplies, two precious, rare etc metals, three slave procurement and general trading, four jobs for the boys, five places to give all those armies something to do instead of brooding in barracks about the lack of efficiency in pay and housing.

A K Haart said...

James - over five days it was easy enough. Spectacular scenery and the weather helped.

Sam - we reached Housesteads on Wednesday. Vindolanda, Corbridge, Birdoswald and Chesters are all worth visiting if you are in the area. You are right about the long reflective thought. It takes time to assimilate the clues and even then one is left with a sense that we can never get under their skin and see the world as they saw it.

Demetrius - that was my impression too. The value of what they secured by building the wall must have made the project seem worthwhile, quite apart from the vanity aspect.