25 September 2007

Hadrian’s Wall

A Wall built for defence where trade became
a worthy accolade – and for sure it even kept
barbarians at bay; raiding Clans saw far
less gains from residents as easy prey
while Romans saved their soldiers strength
another day. Along its length sites grew
for free exchange which knew few bounds
– and merchants who plied wares deterred
offence as much as armed and tuniced men
defended peaceful paths with sword in hand.

The Wall soon thrived for eager gain, traders
came, some indeed crossed wider waters in
their quest where every need was best supplied.
Taverns and inns survived along with humble
trades, fruit sellers made a living, potters and
bakers sold worthy wares while blacksmiths fared
in fashioned tools, made and repaired utensils.
In three years the Wall transformed a bleak
and empty countryside into a live and
thriving scene unique to Roman empire.

So where did it go? Parts remain, relics with
quaint names, villages where stones wear
new guises welcoming walkers who stride the
line with packs on backs and tourists who climb
the few piles left and pose for photographs. Used
and maintained for less than 200 years it stays
intriguing debate. Along with roads may it have
been Rome’s greatest monument? Well I dissent.
The stones gave birth to those ideas we built our
nation on; you see, of course, they’re still extant.
© 10 September 2007, I. D. Carswell