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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb account
If you've any interest in Roman Britain I think you will love this book. It is aimed at a `Time Team' audience, with IQ exceeding their shoe size but no specialist knowledge of architecture. The book is actually about more than Hadrian's Wall itself - Moffat describes events from the Roman invasion of Britain onwards and places the policy of building the Wall in context...
Published on 7 Mar 2009 by Andrew Walker

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting take on the historical reasons for the Wall
Moffat is not a classical historian as such, and this book sets out a different approach to the history of Hadrian's Wall to some of the other texts on the subject. To my mind he brings a more human focussed approach to the history than some of the drier academic texts, and for this the book should be praised. There is perhaps an over-reliance on a limited range of...
Published on 4 May 2012 by ReadThis,LikedThis


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb account, 7 Mar 2009
By 
Andrew Walker "Andrew Walker" (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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If you've any interest in Roman Britain I think you will love this book. It is aimed at a `Time Team' audience, with IQ exceeding their shoe size but no specialist knowledge of architecture. The book is actually about more than Hadrian's Wall itself - Moffat describes events from the Roman invasion of Britain onwards and places the policy of building the Wall in context. His style is very readable and informative, and the pace never flags. Certainly some of it is conjecture, but it is fairly clear this is what you are reading and it really helps the tale - a good example is his imagining the scene when Hadrian came to survey the site of the Wall as the building commenced.
This is not a guidebook as such, although reading it before a visit would greatly enhance a trip. I certainly enjoyed having Google's image search to hand so that I could look for more photos to complement the extra selection already in the book.
Unusually for me, I don't have anything critical to say about this book - I thought enough of it to buy it in hardback at full price and don't regret the extra expense for one minute. Thoroughly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hadrians wall, 10 Aug 2009
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G. I. Forbes (edinburgh) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wall: Rome's Greatest Frontier (Paperback)
This excellent book tells not only of the building of Hadrians wall but also gives an account of Romes invasion of Britain in 55Bc to its final withdrawal in 410AD
Hadrians wall which was built between 122-130AD srretched 73 miles from wallsend-on-Tyne in the east to Bowness in the west was enhanced by a sea wall of 26-50 miles down the Cumbrian coast.On the wall and behind it were numerous forts for observation and accomodation.
The wall occupied the activities of 30,000 Roman soldiers was built of stone in the east and stone and earth inthe west being 12 feet wide narrowing to 7 feet as it progressed west.
The function of the wall is usually considered a defence mechanism to prevent attacks from Picts and Scotts from the north but more recently it has been thought it was built to a)define the northern border of the Roman embire b)to control trade or c)to keep the soldiers occupied.
Throughout the book there are numerous insets that describe in detail various aspects of Roman life.
The photographs are good and give a good insight of what remains of the wall
A book to be recommended.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonder Wall, 9 Sep 2008
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Hobo (Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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This is an excellent book, with some very good colour photographs, of which many I have never seen before. The first half of the book concentrates on the Roman Invasion of Britain and settlement, and it was far from easy for the Romans, the "Briticulli" (Nasty little Brits) were a constant thorn in the Empires side.The description of the wall's construction is given,how cement was made and its risky transport,and each teams general labourer, the Roman equivalent of a "Tea boy".The Wall even became a tourist attraction shortly after construction,providing its own equivalent of souvenir mugs,although I doubt they said "We are having a ball on Hadrians Wall!" A very fine book,if you are interested in the wall,or Roman Britain, I can certainly recommend this book.Throughout there are also what I would describe as "factoids" or points of interest e.g. Togas & trousers,cuisine,forts,tattoo's etc.The Antonine wall is also featured together with its construction.A great account of this frontier and if you include the great sea wall it stretched as far south as Ravenglass.The Vindolanda Letters bring people and daily life alive,even the gruesome discovery of severed heads that had been attached to stakes.The Roman's could be equally brutal.
So sit back and let your mind drift back to life on the Roman frontier!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging read of an important part of British and Roman history, 25 April 2012
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Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wall: Rome's Greatest Frontier (Paperback)
I'm always fascinated by history around Britain during the Roman occupation, and was delighted to find this comprehensive looking book on Hadrian's Wall. This book covers in great and glorious detail the history of the time of the Roman involvement in Britain and its surrounds prior to the building of the wall (Caesar, Claudius etc.); the tribes resident in Britain and their links with the mainland from whence the Romans came; the building and maintenance of the wall; the lives of those who travelled there from far away to what must have seemed like the ends of the earth; and the history of the time the wall was active, and its end. There are also little `asides' throughout the book; boxes with snippets of information of interest and fascination, building to a more complete picture of the lives and times of which we read. This is a great book; entirely reading and totally engaging. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting take on the historical reasons for the Wall, 4 May 2012
By 
ReadThis,LikedThis (North East England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Wall: Rome's Greatest Frontier (Paperback)
Moffat is not a classical historian as such, and this book sets out a different approach to the history of Hadrian's Wall to some of the other texts on the subject. To my mind he brings a more human focussed approach to the history than some of the drier academic texts, and for this the book should be praised. There is perhaps an over-reliance on a limited range of historical sources, in particular a guide to meanings of dreams which Moffat uses to explain common social and economic conventions a touch unconvincingly. But Moffat is operating as all histories of the Wall do with very little in the way of detailed historical sources, and brings something new to the table by seeking to shift focus away from the dynamics of the construction (how much, how, where etc) to the motivations of Hadrian in seeking to build the frontier, the ebb and flow of the political and social reasons that led to the to-and-fro abandonment and re-occupation of the Wall. It should be noted, this is a social and political history and not a guidebook to the Wall, but a few more maps or illustrations would have been appreciated. Overall this is an interesting enough take on the history of the Wall to merit attention if you have an interest in exploring the wider history of the period.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Only 4/5ths about the Wall.., 29 Sep 2012
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This review is from: The Wall: Rome's Greatest Frontier (Paperback)
Whilst this is a really good book i think it should me made clear that the focus of the book is on Roman Briatain and the Walls place in that history. I was looking for a fairly detailed book about the Wall, its construction, building, forts etc. However, of the books 250 pages, only 50 (pp144 - 196) are actually spent discussing the wall in this level of detail.
The other 200 pages are an excellant history from start to finish of the Roman Empires interaction with these islands and the book clearly explains the Wall place in that context, though i was pleased that time is spent discussing the 'other' Antonine Wall, which i knew very little about.
In summary, this is a very good book, an easy read - not a dry academic textbook, where humour and incidental information combine to give a full picture; It is not, however, a book only about The Wall.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Wall That Hadrian Built, 27 Jan 2012
This review is from: The Wall: Rome's Greatest Frontier (Paperback)
This book is actually a history not just of Hadrians Wall but of the entire Roman occupation of Britian. It covers the whole period from Julius Ceasars first exploratory landings to the last days of Roman occupation. This is described so well in fact that I found the weakest parts of the book were actually about the wall itself !

It is a very well written book and immensely readable. Numerous asides of boxed text help fill in background detail about the Romans and Alistair Moffats writing style is very casual and easy to understand. If you knew nothing about the Romans you could still pick up this book and find it easy to get into.

When it comes to the wall itself I got the impression that historians are still undecided as to its purpose. I can't believe that the Roman army with all its advanced tactics would have built this wall that, as Alistair Moffat claims, was so indefensible it occasionally got in the way. On that point I would disagree but he does a good job of describing how the wall was built, but goes into perhaps a little bit too much detail about what stone was used and how it was shaped.

Apart from that this is an excellent book and a great reference for anyone interested in the Roman occupation. Very highly reccomended, I only wish more books about classical history were as good as this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Informative Enjoyable, 10 Nov 2011
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This review is from: The Wall: Rome's Greatest Frontier (Paperback)
Having walked Hadrians Wall & visited many of the places mentioned in the book. It was enthralling to read about the history, not only of this particular monument, but the history of how the Romans came to build it, & others, not only in UK but Europe and many other places. This extremely well written book, gives the reader a fascinating insite as to how very different Britain was in that time. A great educational read that is not too heavy going, or boring. I enjoyed this book so much, I bought another one & sen tit to my brother, with whom I had wlaked the Wall with !! He thought it was fantastic too !!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great narrative, what about some better maps & diagrams?, 21 Feb 2011
By 
Alan P. Chadwick "chopper44" (Cirencester UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wall: Rome's Greatest Frontier (Paperback)
I won't repeat the comments of others about the great narrative, but for me the paperback's spoilt by having only one small 5 inch map of the wall (with only c20 place names - the book mentions dozens...where are they??) and no diagrams/sketches, for example, of some of the mason's tools or on the shapes of the stones made to fit the wall's design. The colour photos of the wall and scenery are good and clear, but the reliance on our imaginations to comprehend some passages takes away some understanding of the practicalities which would make us marvel even more at the Romans' achievement. Suggest you have a map or e-map with you when you read the book to get a better grasp of the geography, oh and do a stonemasons course too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent ....almost, 25 Jan 2011
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This review is from: The Wall: Rome's Greatest Frontier (Paperback)
This is almost an excellent book - some maps would have gone a long way as an accompaniment to a very enjoyable narrative.
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The Wall: Rome's Greatest Frontier
The Wall: Rome's Greatest Frontier by Alistair Moffat (Paperback - 30 April 2009)
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