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The frontier zone in Britain: Hadrian to Caracalla

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Chapter Summary

'Frontier' on its own is an inappropriate term for the linear barriers first erected by Hadrian: the outpost forts are reminders that in Britain the empire did not stop at his Wall or, later, at the Antonine Wall. Herodian states that Britain was divided into two provinces immediately after Albinus' defeat. This conflicts with all the other evidence and must be dismissed as a mistake. The division took place under Caracalla, probably in 213. It may be inferred that, to justify the abandonment of the Scottish conquests, it was put about that the expedition's purpose had been punitive, and the reconstruction of Hadrian's Wall given as the real achievement: the Latin chroniclers, probably all deriving directly or indirectly from the Kaisergeschichte, name the building of the Wall as Severus' principal or only achievement in Britain, and know nothing of campaigns in Caledonia.

Keywords: Britain; Caracalla; Frontier; Hadrian; Latin chroniclers; Scottish conquests



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