Roman military frontiers and fortifications
Roman military borders and fortifications were part of a grand strategy of territorial defense in the Roman Empire, although this is a matter of debate. By the early 2nd century, the Roman Empire had reached the peak of its territorial expansion and rather than expanding their borders as earlier in the Empire and Republic, the Romans solidified their position by fortifying their strategic position with a series of fortifications and established lines of defense. Historian Adrian Goldsworthy argues that the Romans had reached the natural limits which their military traditions afforded them conquest over and that beyond the borders of the early-to-mid Empire lay peoples whose military traditions made them militarily unconquerable, despite many Roman battle victories. In particular, Goldsworthy argues that the cavalry-based warfare of the Parthians and Persians presented a major challenge to the expansion of Rome's infantry-based armies; the borders of the Roman Empire, which fluctuated throughout the empire's history, were a combination of natural frontiers and man-made fortifications which separated the lands of the empire from the "barbarian" lands beyond.
Individual fortifications had been constructed by the Roman military from as early as the building of Rome's first city walls in the 6th or 7th century BC. However, systematic construction of fortifications around the periphery of the empire on a strategic scale began around 40 AD under Emperor Caligula. However, it was under Hadrian's rule, which began in 117, that the Roman frontier was systematically fortified, he spent half of his 21-year reign touring the empire and advocating for the construction of forts and walls all across the edges of the empire. The coherent construction of these fortifications on a strategic scale are known as the limes, continued until around 270; the limes consisted of fortresses for legions or vexillations as well as a system of roads for the rapid transit of troops and, in some places, extensive walls. The most famous example of these is Hadrian's Wall in Great Britain, built across the entire width of the island to protect from attack from tribes located in modern-day Scotland.
The so-called Limes Britannicus is the best example of the ultimate limes - like the Great Wall of China, it was an attempt to construct a continuous man-made fortification along the length of an entire border, a massive undertaking. However, it is not correct to interpret other limes in the same way or to view the limes as an impenetrable barrier. Other limes would not have had a continuous man-made fortification for the entirety of their length. In places, a river, desert or natural outcropping of rock could provide the same effect for zero outlay. Fortifications as impressive as Hadrian's Wall were not unbreachable: with milecastles some distance apart and patrols infrequent, small enemy forces would have been able to penetrate the defenses for small-scale raiding. However, a raiding party would be forced to fight its way through one of the well-defended gates, abandon its loot, such as cattle, thus negating the whole purpose of the raid or be trapped against the wall by the responding legions.
Additionally, a large army would have been able to force a crossing of the limes using siege equipment. The value of the limes lay not in its absolute impenetrability but, as S. Thomas Parker argues, in its hindrance to the enemy: granting a delay or warning that could be used to summon concentrated Roman forces to the site; the limes are therefore better seen as an instrument allowing a greater economy of force in defense of a border than otherwise would be necessary to provide the same level of defense. After 270, the maintenance of an impenetrable solid frontier was abandoned by Constantine I in favor of a policy, whether deliberate or forced by circumstance, of "defense in depth"; this called for the maintenance of a softer, deeper perimeter area of defense, with concentrated hard points throughout its depth. The idea was that any invading force of a sufficient size could penetrate the initial perimeter but in doing so with any element of surprise or rapid movement would be forced to leave several defended hard points to its rear, hampering its lines of supply and communications, threatening surrounding of the force.
In the late Empire the frontiers became more elastic, with little effort expended in maintaining frontier defense. Instead, armies were concentrated near the heart of the empire, enemies allowed to penetrate in cases as far inwards as the Italian peninsula before being met in battle. After conquering much of the modern landmass of Great Britain, the Romans halted their northern expansion at the southern fringe of Caledonia, what is now central Scotland; this left them with a border shared with a people who made repeated raids and insurrections against them. Unlike other borders throughout the empire, there was no natural border to fall back on such as desert or wide river that crossed the whole peninsula, so instead a series of defenses were built in southern to mid-Scotland in order to protect the province of Britannia from the Caledonians and the Picts. Although the border was not a continuous wall, a series of fortifications known as Gask Ridge in mid-Scotland may well be Rome's earliest fortified land frontier.
Constructed in the 70CE or 80CE, it was superseded by the Hadrian's Wall forty years and the final Antonine Wall twenty years after that. Rather than representing a series of consecutive advancements, the border should be seen as fluctuating - the Antonine Wall for exam
Hadrian's Wall called the Roman Wall, Picts' Wall, or Vallum Hadriani in Latin, was a defensive fortification in the Roman province of Britannia, begun in AD 122 in the reign of the emperor Hadrian. It ran from the banks of the River Tyne near the North Sea to the Solway Firth on the Irish Sea, was the northern limit of the Roman Empire north of which were the lands of the northern Ancient Britons, including the Picts, it had a stone wall. There were milecastles with two turrets in between. There was a fort about every five Roman miles. From north to south, the wall comprised a ditch, military way and vallum, another ditch with adjoining mounds, it is thought the milecastles were staffed with static garrisons, whereas the forts had fighting garrisons of infantry and cavalry. In addition to the wall's defensive military role, its gates may have been customs posts. A significant portion of the wall still stands and can be followed on foot along the adjoining Hadrian's Wall Path; the largest Roman archaeological feature anywhere, it runs a total of 73 miles in northern England.
Regarded as a British cultural icon, Hadrian's Wall is one of Britain's major ancient tourist attractions. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. In comparison, the Antonine wall, thought by some to be based on Hadrian's wall, was not declared a World Heritage site until 2008, it is a common misconception that Hadrian's Wall marks the boundary between Scotland. In fact Hadrian's Wall lies within England and has never formed the Anglo-Scottish border. While it is less than 0.6 mi south of the border with Scotland in the west at Bowness-on-Solway, in the east at Wallsend it is as much as 68 miles away. Hadrian's Wall was 117.5 km long. East of the River Irthing, the wall was made from squared stone and measured 3 metres wide and 5 to 6 metres high, while west of the river the wall was made from turf and measured 6 metres wide and 3.5 metres high. These dimensions do not include the wall's ditches and forts; the central section measured eight Roman feet wide on a 3 m base. Some parts of this section of the wall survive to a height of 3 m.
South of the wall, a large ditch was dug, with adjoining parallel mounds, one on either side. This is known today as the Vallum though the word vallum in Latin is the origin of the English word wall, does not refer to a ditch. In many places – for example Limestone Corner – the Vallum is better preserved than the wall, robbed of much of its stone. Hadrian's Wall extended west from Segedunum at Wallsend on the River Tyne, via Carlisle and Kirkandrews-on-Eden, to the shore of the Solway Firth, ending a short but unknown distance west of the village of Bowness-on-Solway; the A69 and B6318 roads follow the course of the wall from Newcastle upon Tyne to Carlisle along the northern coast of Cumbria. Although the curtain wall ends near Bowness-on-Solway, this does not mark the end of the line of defensive structures; the system of milecastles and turrets is known to have continued along the Cumbria coast as far as Risehow, south of Maryport. For classification purposes, the milecastles west of Bowness-on-Solway are referred to as Milefortlets.
Hadrian's Wall was planned before Hadrian's visit to Britain in 122. According to restored sandstone fragments found in Jarrow which date from 118 or 119, it was Hadrian's wish to keep "intact the empire", imposed on him via "divine instruction". Although Hadrian's biographer wrote " was the first to build a wall 80 miles long to separate the Romans from the barbarians", reasons for the construction of the wall vary, no recording of an exact explanation survives. Theories have been presented by historians of an expression of Roman power and Hadrian's policy of defence before expansion. On his accession to the throne in 117, there was unrest and rebellion in Roman Britain and from the peoples of various conquered lands across the Empire, including Egypt, Judea and Mauritania; these troubles may have influenced Hadrian's plan to construct the wall as well as his construction of limites in other areas of the Empire, but to what extent is unknown. Scholars disagree over how much of a threat the inhabitants of northern Britain presented and whether there was any economic advantage in defending and garrisoning a fixed line of defences like the Wall, rather than conquering and annexing what has become the Scottish Lowlands and defending the territory with a loose arrangement of forts.
The limites of Rome were never expected to stop tribes from migrating or armies from invading, while a frontier protected by a palisade or stone wall would help curb cattle-raiders and the incursions of other small groups, the economic viability of constructing and keeping guarded a wall 72 miles long along a sparsely populated border to stop small-scale raiding is dubious. Another possible explanation for the wall is the degree of control it would have provided over immigration and customs. Limites did not mark the boundaries of the empire: Roman power and influence extended beyond the walls. People within and beyond the limites travelled through it each day when conducting business, organised check-points like those offered by Hadrian's Wall provided good opportunities for taxation. With watch towers only a short distance from gateways in the limites, patrolling legionaries could have kept track of
Lower Germanic Limes
The Lower Germanic Limes is the former frontier between the Roman province of Germania inferior and Germania Magna. The Lower Germanic Limes separated that part of the Rhineland left of the Rhine as well as the Netherlands, part of the Roman Empire, from the less controlled regions east of the Rhine; the route of the limes started near the estuary of the Oude Rijn on the North Sea. It followed the course of the Rhine and ended at the Vinxtbach in present-day Niederbreisig, a quarter in the town of Bad Breisig, the border with the province of Germania superior; the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes started on the opposite, right-hand, side of the Rhine with the Roman camp of Rheinbrohl. The Lower Germanic Limes was not a fortified limes with ramparts, palisades or walls and watchtowers, but a river border to the limites on the Danube and Euphrates; the Rhine Line was guarded by a chain of castra for auxiliary troops. It was laid out by Augustus and his stepson and military commander, who began to strengthen the natural boundary of the Rhine from the year 15 A. D.
The decision not to conquer the regions east of the Rhine in 16 A. D. made the Rhine into a fixed frontier of the Roman Empire. For its protection, a large number of estates and settlements were established; the names and locations of several sites have been handed down through the ‘’Tabula Peutingeriana and Itinerarium Antonini. Together with the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes, the Lower Germanic Limes forms part of the Limes Germanicus As it runs along the Rhine the Lower Germanic Limes passes four landscapes with different topography and natural character; the southernmost and smallest portion, between the Vinxtbach and the area around Bonn still belongs to the Rhenish Massif, through which the river passes in a narrow valley between the heights of the Westerwald and the Eifel Mountains. From the area of Bonn, the Rhine valley opens into the Cologne Bay, bounded by the Bergisches Land, which hugs the river on the right-hand side, the Eifel and High Fens to the southeast and east; the Cologne Bay has fertile loess soils and is characterized by a mild climate.
It is therefore little wonder that most of the rural vici and villae rusticae in Lower Germania were established in this area in Roman times. In the vicinity of the military camp of Novaesium, the Cologne Bay expands further into the Lower Rhine Plain, a river terrace landscape. Only a little west of today's German-Dutch border in the area of the legion camp of Noviomagus, the Lower Rhine Plain transitions into the watery marshland formed by the Rhine and Meuse and which ends at the North Sea in the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta. Tilmann Bechert: Germania inferior. Eine Provinz an der Nordgrenze des Römischen Reichs. Zabern, Mainz, 2007, ISBN 978-3-8053-2400-7. Tilmann Bechert, Willem J. H. Willems: Die römische Reichsgrenze von der Mosel bis zur Nordseeküste. Stuttgart, 1995, ISBN 3-8062-1189-2. Tilmann Bechert: Römisches Germanien zwischen Rhein und Maas. Die Provinz Germania inferior.. Hirmer, Munich, 1982, ISBN 3-7774-3440-X. Julianus Egidius Bogaers, Christoph B. Rüger: Der niedergermanische Limes.
Materialien zu seiner Geschichte. Rheinland Verlag, Cologne, 1974, ISBN 3-7927-0194-4. Michael Gechter: Die Anfänge des Niedergermanischen Limes. In: Bonner Jahrbücher. 179, 1979, pp. 1–129. Michael Gechter: Early Roman military installations and Ubian settlements in the Lower Rhine. In: T. Blagg, M. Millett: The early Roman empire in the West. 2. Auflage. Oxford Books 2002, ISBN 1-84217-069-4, S. 97–102. Michael Gechter: Die Militärgeschichte am Niederrhein von Caesar bis Tiberius. Eine Skizze. In: T. Grünewald, S. Seibel: Kontinuität und Diskontinuität. Die Germania inferior am Beginn und am Ende der römischen Herrschaft, Beiträge des deutsch-niederländischen Kolloquiums in der Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen, 27. Bis 30.6.2001. De Gruyter, Berlin, 2003, pp. 147–159. Heinz Günter Horn: Die Römer in Nordrhein-Westfalen. Theiss, Stuttgart 1987. Nikol, Hamburg, 2002, ISBN 3-933203-59-7. Anne Johnson: Römische Kastelle des 1. Und 2. Jahrhunderts n. Chr. in Britannien und in den germanischen Provinzen des Römerreiches.
Zabern, Mainz, 1987, ISBN 3-8053-0868-X. Margot Klee: Grenzen des Imperiums. Leben am römischen Limes. Konrad Theiss Verlag, Stuttgart, 2006. ISBN 3-8062-2015-8. Pp. 33–40. Hans Schönberger: Die römischen Truppenlager der frühen und mittleren Kaiserzeit zwischen Nordsee und Inn. In: Bericht der Römisch-Germanischen Kommission. 66, 1985, pp. 321–495. Lower Germanic Limes on the website of Dutch historian, Jona Lendering Vici.org Lower Germanic Limes, interactive map »www.niedergermanischer-limes.de« Germania inferior on the private website of author, Peter Lichtenberger De Limes - Grens van het Romeinse Rijk Romeinen in Nederland
Technological history of the Roman military
The technology history of the Roman military covers the development of and application of technologies for use in the armies and navies of Rome from the Roman Republic to the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The rise of Hellenism and the Roman Republic are seen as signalling the end of the Iron Age in the Mediterranean. Roman iron-working was enhanced by a process known as carburization; the Romans used the better properties in their armaments, the 1,300 years of Roman military technology saw radical changes. The Roman armies of the early empire were much better equipped than early republican armies. Metals used for arms and armor included iron and brass. For construction, the army used wood and stone; the use of concrete in architecture was mirrored in Roman military technology in the application of a military workforce to civilian construction projects. Much of what is described as Roman technology, as opposed to that of the Greeks, comes directly from the Etruscan civilization, thriving to the North when Rome was just a small kingdom.
The Etruscans had invented the stone arch, used it in bridges as well as buildings. Some Roman technologies were taken directly from Greek civilization. After the absorption of the ancient Greek city states into the Roman Republic in 146 BC, the advanced Greek technology began to spread across many areas of Roman influence and supplement the Empire; this included the military advances that the Greeks had made, as well as all the scientific, mathematical and artistic developments. However, the Romans made many significant technological advances, such as the invention of hydraulic cement and concrete, they used such new materials to great advantage in their structures, many of which survive to this day, like their masonry aqueducts, such as the Pont du Gard, buildings, such as the Pantheon and Baths of Diocletian in Rome. Their methods were recorded by such luminaries as Vitruvius and Frontinus for example, who wrote handbooks to advise fellow engineers and architects. Romans knew enough history to be aware that widespread technological change had occurred in the past and brought benefits, as shown for example by Pliny the Elder's Naturalis Historia.
That tradition continued as the empire absorbed new ideas. Romans thought of themselves as practical, so small-scale innovation was common; the traditional view is that their reliance on a plentiful slave labour force and a lack of a patent or copyright system have both been cited as reasons that there was little social or financial pressure to automate or reduce manual tasks. However, this view is being challenged by new research that shows they did indeed innovate, on a wide scale, thus the watermill had been known to the Greeks, but it was the Romans who developed their efficient utilisation. The set of mills at Barbegal in southern France were worked by a single aqueduct, which drove no fewer than 16 overshot mills built into the side of a hill, they were built by the army and supplied flour to a wide region. Floating mills were used to exploit fast flowing rivers; the Romans used water power in an unexpected way during mining operations. It's known from the writings of Pliny the Elder that they exploited the alluvial gold deposits of north-west Spain soon after the conquest of the region in 25 BC using large-scale hydraulic mining methods.
The spectacular gold mine at Las Medulas was worked by no fewer than seven long aqueducts cut into the surrounding mountains, the water being played directly onto the soft auriferous ore. The outflow was channelled into sluice boxes, the heavier gold collected on rough pavements, they developed many deep mines, such as those for copper at Rio Tinto, where Victorian mining developments exposed the much earlier workings. Dewatering machines, such as Archimedean screws and reverse overshot water wheels, were found in situ, one of, on show at the British Museum. Another fragmentary example was recovered from the Roman gold mine at Dolaucothi in west Wales, is preserved at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff; the army were at the forefront of development of gold mines, since the metal was imperial property, developed the Dolaucothi mines from the outset by establishing a fort there, known as Luentinum. They had the expertise to build the infrastructure of aqueducts and reservoirs, as well as control production.
The period in which technological progress was fastest and greatest was during the 2nd century and 1st century BC, the period in which Roman political and economic power increased. By the 2nd century, Roman technology appears to have peaked; the Romans advanced military technology and implemented it on a massive scale. From a few early models of ballista from Greek city-states the Romans adopted and improved the design issuing one to every century in the legions. To facilitate this organization, an engineering corps was developed. An officer of engineers, or praefectus fabrum, is referenced in armies of the Late Republic, but this post is not verifiable in all accounts and may have been a military advisor on the personal staff of a commanding officer. There were legion architects. Ensuring that constructions were level was the job of the libratores, who would launch missiles and other projectiles during battle; the engineering corps was in charge of massive production prefabricating artillery and siege equipment to facilitate its transportation Roman military engineering Roman aqueducts Roman technology Sanitation in ancient R
In the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, the Latin word castrum was a building, or plot of land, used as a fortified military camp. Castrum was the term used for different sizes of camps including a large legionary fortress, smaller auxiliary forts, temporary encampments, "marching" forts; the diminutive form castellum was used for fortlets occupied by a detachment of a cohort or a century. In English, the terms Roman fortress, Roman fort, Roman camp are used for castrum. However, scholastic convention tends toward the use of the words camp, marching camp, fortress as a translation of castrum. For a list of known castra see List of castra. Castrum appears in Oscan and Umbrian, two other Italic languages, suggests an origin at least as old as Proto-Italic language. Julius Pokorny traces a probable derivation from * k̂es -, schneiden in * k̂es - tro-m; these Italic reflexes based on * kastrom include Umbrian castruo, kastruvuf. They have the same meaning, says Pokorny, as Latin fundus, an estate, or tract of land.
This is not any land, but is a prepared or cultivated tract, such as a farm enclosed by a fence or a wooden or stone wall of some kind. Cornelius Nepos uses Latin castrum in that sense: when Alcibiades deserts to the Persians, Pharnabazus gives him an estate worth 500 talents in tax revenues; this is a change of meaning from the reflexes in other languages, which still mean some sort of knife, axe, or spear. Pokorny explains it as ’Lager’ als ‘abgeschnittenes Stück Land’, “a lager, as a cut-off piece of land.” If this is the civilian interpretation, the military version must be “military reservation,” a piece of land cut off from the common land around it and modified for military use. All castra must be defended by works no more than a stockade, for which the soldiers carried stakes, a ditch; the castra could be prepared under attack behind a battle line. Considering that the earliest military shelters were tents made of hide or cloth, all but the most permanent bases housed the men in tents placed in quadrangles and separated by numbered streets, one castrum may well have acquired the connotation of tent.
The commonest Latin syntagmata for the term castra are: castra stativa Permanent camp/fortresses castra aestiva Summer camp/fortresses castra hiberna Winter camp/fortresses castra navalia or castra nautica Navy camp/fortressesIn Latin the term castrum is much more used as a proper name for geographical locations: e.g. Castrum Album, Castrum Inui, Castrum Novum, Castrum Truentinum, Castrum Vergium; the plural was used as a place name, as Castra Cornelia, from this come the Welsh place name prefix caer- and English suffixes -caster and -chester. Castrorum Filius, "son of the camps," was one of the names used by the emperor Caligula and also by other emperors. Castro derived from Castrum, is a common Spanish family name as well as toponym in Italy, the Balkans and Spain and other Hispanophone countries, either by itself or in various compounds such as the World Heritage Site of Gjirokastër; the terms stratopedon and phrourion were used by Greek language authors to translate castrum and castellum, respectively.
A castrum was designed to house and protect the soldiers, their equipment and supplies when they were not fighting or marching. This most detailed description that survives about Roman military camps is De Munitionibus Castrorum, a manuscript of 11 pages that dates most from the late 1st to early 2nd century AD. Regulations required a major unit in the field to retire to a properly constructed camp every day. "… as soon as they have marched into an enemy's land, they do not begin to fight until they have walled their camp about. To this end a marching column ported the equipment needed to build and stock the camp in a baggage train of wagons and on the backs of the soldiers. Camps were the responsibility of engineering units to which specialists of many types belonged, officered by architecti, "chief engineers", who requisitioned manual labor from the soldiers at large as required, they could throw up a camp under enemy attack in as little as a few hours. Judging from the names, they used a repertory of camp plans, selecting the one appropriate to the length of time a legion would spend in it: tertia castra, quarta castra, etc..
More permanent camps were castra stativa. The least permanent of these were castra aestiva or aestivalia, "summer camps", in which the soldiers were housed sub pellibus or sub tentoriis, "under tents". Summer was the campaign season. For the winter the soldiers retired to castra hiberna containing barracks and other buildings of more solid materials, with timber construction being replaced by stone; the camp supplied army in the field. Neither the Celtic nor Germanic armies had this capability: they found it necessary to disperse after only a few days; the largest castra were legionary fortresses built as bases for one or more whole legions. From the time of Augustus more permanent castra with wooden or stone buildings and walls were introduced as the distant and hard-won boundaries of the expanding empire required permanent garrisons to control local and external threats
A quincunx is a geometric pattern consisting of five points arranged in a cross, with four of them forming a square or rectangle and a fifth at its center. It forms the arrangement of five units in the pattern corresponding to the five-spot on six-sided dice, playing cards, dominoes, it is represented in Unicode as U+2059 ⁙ FIVE DOT PUNCTUATION or U+2684 ⚄ DIE FACE-5. The quincunx was a coin issued by the Roman Republic c. 211–200 BC, whose value was five twelfths of an as, the Roman standard bronze coin. On the Roman quincunx coins, the value was sometimes indicated by a pattern of pellets. However, these dots were not always arranged in a quincunx pattern; the Oxford English Dictionary dates the first appearances of the Latin word in English as 1545 and 1574. The first citation for "A pattern used for planting trees" dates from 1606; the OED cites a 1647 reference to the German astronomer Kepler to the astronomical/astrological meaning. Jackson states that the word refers to the pattern of trees in an orchard, but uses it more abstractly for a version of the orchard-planting problem involving patterns of points and lines in the plane.
Quincunx patterns occur in many contexts: In heraldry, groups of five elements are arranged in a quincunx pattern, called in saltire in heraldic terminology. The flag of the Solomon Islands features this pattern, with its five stars representing the five main island groups in the Solomon Islands. Another instance of this pattern occurred in the flag of the 19th-century Republic of Yucatán, where it signified the five departments into which the republic was divided. A quincunx is a standard pattern for planting an orchard. Quincunxes are used in modern computer graphics as a pattern for multisample anti-aliasing. Quincunx antialiasing samples scenes at the corners and centers of each pixel; these five sample points, in the shape of a quincunx, are combined to produce each displayed pixel. However, samples at the corner points are shared with adjacent pixels, so the number of samples needed is only twice the number of displayed pixels. In numerical analysis, the quincunx pattern describes the two-dimensional five-point stencil, a sampling pattern used to derive finite difference approximations to derivatives.
In architecture, a quincuncial plan defined as a "cross-in-square", is the plan of an edifice composed of nine bays. The central and the four angular ones are covered with domes or groin vaults so that the pattern of these domes forms a quincunx. In Khmer architecture, the towers of a temple, such as Angkor Wat, are sometimes arranged in a quincunx to represent the five peaks of Mount Meru. A quincunx is one of the quintessential designs of Cosmatesque inlay stonework. A quincuncial map is a conformal map projection that maps the poles of the sphere to the centre and four corners of a square, thus forming a quincunx; the points on each face of a unit cell of a face-centred cubic lattice form a quincunx. The quincunx as a tattoo is known as the five dots tattoo, it has been variously interpreted as a fertility symbol, a reminder of sayings on how to treat women or police, a recognition symbol among the Romani people, a group of close friends, standing alone in the world, or time spent in prison.
Thomas Edison, whose many inventions included an electric pen which became the basis of a tattooing machine created by Samuel O'Reilly, had this pattern tattooed on his forearm. Republican Roman manipular legions adopted a checkered formation called quincunx when deployed for battle; the first two stages of the Saturn V super heavy-lift rocket had engines in a quincunx arrangement. A baseball diamond forms a quincunx with the pitcher's mound. Various literary works use or refer to the quincunx pattern for its symbolic value: The English physician Sir Thomas Browne in his philosophical discourse The Garden of Cyrus elaborates upon evidence of the quincunx pattern in art and mystically as evidence of "the wisdom of God". Although Browne wrote about quincunx in its geometric meaning, he may have been influenced by English astrology, as the astrological meaning of "quincunx" was introduced by the astronomer Kepler in 1604. James Joyce uses the term in Grace, a short story in The Dubliners of 1914, to describe the seating arrangement of five men in a church service.
Lobner argues that in this context the pattern serves as a symbol both of the wounds of Christ and of the Greek cross. Lawrence Durrell's novel sequence The Avignon Quintet is arranged in the form of a quincunx, according to the author; the Quincunx is the title of a lengthy and elaborate novel by Charles Palliser set in 19th-century England, published in 1989. In the first chapter of The Rings of Saturn, W. G. Sebald's narrator cites Browne's writing on the quincunx; the quincunx in turn becomes a model for the way. Séamus Heaney describes Ireland's historical provinces as together forming a quincunx, as the Irish word for province cúige explicates; the five provinces of Ireland were Ulster, Connacht and Meath. More in his essay Frontier
The Antonine Wall, known to the Romans as Vallum Antonini, was a turf fortification on stone foundations, built by the Romans across what is now the Central Belt of Scotland, between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. Representing the northernmost frontier barrier of the Roman Empire, it spanned 63 kilometres and was about 3 metres high and 5 metres wide. Lidar scans have been carried out to establish the length of the wall and the Roman distance units used. Security was bolstered by a deep ditch on the northern side, it is thought. The barrier was the second of two "great walls" created by the Romans in what the English once called Northern Britain, its ruins are less evident than the better-known Hadrian's Wall to the south because the turf and wood wall has weathered away, unlike its stone-built southern predecessor. Construction began in AD 142 at the order of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, took about 12 years to complete. Antoninus Pius never visited Britain. Pressure from the Caledonians may have led Antoninus to send the empire's troops further north.
The Antonine Wall was protected by 16 forts with small fortlets between them. The soldiers who built the wall commemorated the construction and their struggles with the Caledonians in decorative slabs, twenty of which survive; the wall was abandoned only eight years after completion, the garrisons relocated back to Hadrian's Wall. In 208 Emperor Septimius ordered repairs; the occupation ended a few years and the wall was never fortified again. Most of the wall and its associated fortifications have been destroyed over time, but some remains are visible. Many of these have come under the care of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius ordered the construction of the Antonine Wall around 142. Quintus Lollius Urbicus, governor of Roman Britain at the time supervised the effort, which took about twelve years to complete; the wall stretches 63 kilometres from Old Kilpatrick in West Dunbartonshire on the Firth of Clyde to Carriden near Bo'ness on the Firth of Forth. The wall was intended to extend Roman territory and dominance by replacing Hadrian's Wall 160 kilometres to the south, as the frontier of Britannia.
But while the Romans did establish many forts and temporary camps further north of the Antonine Wall in order to protect their routes to the north of Scotland, they did not conquer the Caledonians, the Antonine Wall suffered many attacks. The Romans called the land north of the wall Caledonia, though in some contexts the term may refer to the whole area north of Hadrian's Wall; the Antonine Wall was shorter than Hadrian's Wall and built of turf on a stone foundation, but it was still an impressive achievement. It was a simpler fortification than Hadrian's Wall insofar as it did not have a subsidiary ditch system behind it to the south, as Hadrian's Wall did with its Vallum; the stone foundations and wing walls of the original forts on the Antonine Wall demonstrate that the original plan was to build a stone wall similar to Hadrian's Wall, but this was amended. As built, the wall was a bank, about four metres high, made of layered turves and earth with a wide ditch on the north side, a military way on the south.
The Romans planned to build forts every 10 kilometres, but this was soon revised to every 3.3 kilometres, resulting in a total of nineteen forts along the wall. The best preserved but one of the smallest forts is Rough Castle Fort. In addition to the forts, there are at least 9 smaller fortlets likely on Roman mile spacings, which formed part of the original scheme, some of which were replaced by forts; the most visible fortlet is Kinneil, at the eastern end of the Wall, near Bo'ness. There was once a remarkable Roman structure within sight of the Antonine Wall at Stenhousemuir; this was Arthur's O'on, a circular stone domed monument or rotunda, which may have been a temple, or a tropaeum, a victory monument. It was demolished for its stone in 1743. In addition to the line of the Wall itself there are a number of coastal forts both in the East and West, which should be considered as outposts and/or supply bases to the Wall itself. In addition a number of forts farther north were brought back into service in the Gask Ridge area, including Ardoch, Strageath and Dalginross and Cargill.
Recent research by Glasgow University has shown that the distance stones, stone sculptures unique to the Antonine Wall which were embedded in the wall to mark the lengths built by each legion, were brightly painted unlike their present bare appearance. These stones are preserved in the University's museum and are said to be the best-preserved examples of statuary from any Roman frontier. Several of the slabs have been analysed by various techniques including portable X-ray fluorescence. Tiny remnants of paint have been detected by surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy. Several of the distance slabs have been scanned and 3-D videos produced. There are plans to reproduce the slabs, both digitally and in real physical copies, with their authentic colours. A copy of the Bridgeness Slab has been made and can be found in Bo'ness, it is expected that lottery funding will allow replicas of distance markers to be placed along the length of the wall. The wall was abandoned onl