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within an intrenchment, consisting of a rampart and ditch, wherever they halted, when in an enemy's country, if only for a single night. It is unquestionable, likewise, that some of their military stations were fortified simply by earth-works and palisades.
In regard to strength of intrenchment, the camps of the Romans exhibit a considerable variety; the cause of which may be readily supposed to arise from the degree of danger apprehended. It is observed by General Roy, that the castra in which the Romans made no great stay, have, in general, “ only a weak intrenchment, the ditch being about eight feet broad, and six feet deep; with a parapet behind it, foar or five feet in height. The camps of a inore lasting nature, in which they continued for a considerable space of time together, and perhaps even used again aud again, have a broader and deeper ditch, and a rampart proportionably stronger.”
But the castrametations of the Romans are, in some instances, of a character not comprebended in either of the above descriptions. The most prominent and curious variations consist of camps in which the want of natural strength, on certain exposed sides, is remedied by the formation of multiplied fosses of a great depth, with ramparts of a correspondent height between them it and of such small earth-works as are found on elevated, or open, situations, near other Roman military works, and are confidently supposed to have acted as posts of observation, being thence termed erploratory camps.
Mr. Whitaker observes, on the authority of Vegetius, t that the Roinans appear to have frequently constructed small fortresses in the vicinity of their stations, for the protection of their
• Military Antiq. p. 42. + These deviations from common practice chiefly occur in camps formed by Agricola, in the north. Vide the plates, and erudite letter-press accompaniment, in General Roy's work on the Military Antiquities of the Romans.
Hist. of Manchester, Vol. I. p. 231, et seq. apud Vegetius, lib. iii, c. 8, &c.
cattle in the pastures, and the security and accommodation of their convoys on the roads. This remark, founded as it is on the testimony of Vegetius, may enable the investigator to account for the remains of small works, wear thoseof a large Roman cainp, when so situated as to render it improbable that they originally formed part of a castrametation used for exploratory purposes.
The most stupendous military vestige of the Romans in this island, falls under no head of classification, and is equally peculiar, surprising, and magnificent.—It will be readily apprchended that I allude to the rampart usually denominated the wall of Severus ;* that strong and lofty barrier, which the Romans constructed from sea to sea, as a protection for the allied inhabi. tants of the south against the ferocions, unconqucrevi, tribes of the north. This great line of defence extends from the mouth of the river Tyne, on the east, to Solway firth, on the west; and, in its progress over the long tract of intervening country, formerly exhibited curivus instances of the Roman art of fortification, in regular stations, guarded by walls and ditches; and in castella and turrets, placed along the wall at given distances. It is now rapidly approaching to a state of ulter demolition. Its turrets and castella are no more; but the site of these, and of the stations, is often discernible, from an inequality in the surface, or an occasional trace of foundation. A Roman road accompanie] this great work.
Roman Roads. --Conspicuous in every branch of political @conomy, the Romans eviucel peculiar grandeur of design, and unrivalled skill and industry, in the construction of their roads. Aware that the progress of civilization, through its several degrees, even to the last refinements of politeness, depended greatly
• For a description of the wall of Severus, and some particulars respecting its bistory, the reader is referred to the Beauties for the counties of Northumberland and Cumberland.
on a facility of interchange, they, in an early age, and with an obvious policy, rendered communication easy in the neighbourhood of the seat of empire. In succeeding periods it became a point of family competition to impart grandeur to these great channels of traffic; and the name of a benefactor was united with the beauty and durable character of the thoroughfare which was constructed by his liberality. Such were the well known Appian and Flaminian ways.
This great people were actuated by the same spirit of policy, in the organization of their foreign conquests. Often disregarded even by their own historians, the precise steps and extent of their victories would, perhaps, be little known to modern ages, if they had not marked the advancement of their sway by roads, evidently formed with so much patient labour as to evince a security of inhabitation. In no province of that powerful empire which once engrossed the whole of the European world, are the vestiges of these great works more frequent than in Britain. They are discovered in every district of the island that was visited by the imperial arms; and, whilst they point to the extent and locality of the Roman population in Britain, they afford documents equally interesting to the antiquary and the historian.
It has been found impossible to ascertain the exact periods at which these roads were constructed. Dr. Stukeley conjectures that the Ermyn (or, as he terms it, the Hermen) street was that first formed; and he attributes the work to the reign of Nero ;* while Horsley contends that most of the military ways in Britain were probably laid down by Agricola;t and in such an opinion the latter ingenious author has been followed by many antiquarian writers. But it would certainly appear to be likely that the first road adapted to military passage, by the Romans in Britain, was that which led froin Richborough, on the track of the British Watling Street, tò London; as that road presents the line of their earliest victories in this island. Accessions of road were probably made by ditferent commanders, on the attainment of new conquests; and, thus, each successful legate is entitled to a portion of the merit, arising from the completion of works so great and regular.
• Itin. Cur. p. 6.
+ Brit. Rom. p. 387.
The disputable priority of the Roman station or its attached road, has also constituted a subject of antiquarian discussion, and is thus noticed by Mr. Whitaker: "In a country like this, where forests must have risen, and morasses have spread, betwixt station and station, roads must have been nearly as necessary as stations, and were certainly, therefore, nearly cotemporary with them. As the Romans prosecuted their conquests within the island, they must, also, have multiplied their stations, and extended their roads. The stations were certainly prior, and the roads were the channels of communication between them. Many of the stations must have necessarily commenced during the very conquest of the country; and all of them at the conclusion of it. And the roads could not have been constructed till the first, or second, summer after both.”*
It has been already observed, in my notice of the vestiges of the early Britons, that several British roads were adopted by the Romans, and improved by that people, according to the modes of their greater experience and superior skill. The priucipal of these have been enumerated in that section of the work; but, when we remember the great number of British towns which were retained by the Romans, and fortified by them as stalions or settlements, we may readily believe that many roads, now supposed to be purely Roman, were really forined in the line of previous British track ways. If it were possible for this conjecture to be satisfactorily authenticated, the result would be curious and highly interesting; as it would tend towards the enlargement of our notions, respecting the civil arrangements of the first known inhabitants of this islaud.
• Hist. of Manchester, Vol. I. p. 118,
The most distinguished and estimable feature in the arrangement of roads inade by the Romans, is their continuance in a direct course, or in as straight a line, from place to place, as natural circumstances will permit. The Romans worked with the hand of conquest, and private objections were of little avail when preferred by the tributary. The unenclosed state of Britain, at least in districts remote from the southern coast, likewise favoured the attainment of such a directness of course, without any important injury to the possessions of a tribe, or of individuals.- But the claims, or feelings, of discomfited nations were of little consideration with the invaders, while laying out the track of such great military thoroughfares, as were intended to assist in completing the task of subjugation. All but such natural obstacles as were quite superior to the efforts of human skill and labour, yielded to their perseverance: and we find (to use the words of a writer whose remark is founded on actual investigation) " that all Roman roads run invariably in a straight Jine, except where they meet with some local impediment, such as a steep mountain or a deep ravine; or where they bend out of their general direction, to approach or leave a station, or to throw off some vicinal road."'*
It will be readily apprehended that extraordinary labour was bestowed on the construction of roads, which have proved so durable.-- The Roman military road in Britain, consisted of an artificial fabric, composed of chalk, pebble-stones, or gravel, raised to a considerable height above the level of the natural soil. These materials were often brought from a distant tract of country; and instances are yet to be seen of the road rising to the height of ten feet, in a crest of emphatical but deserted grandeur.
The occurrence of so great an elevalion was most frequent on heaths, covered with low, stubbed, (or pollard) oaks; and it is conjectured by an ingenious writer ou the subject of Roman anti
* Rev. Mr. Leman, on the Roman roads, &c. Introduction to Nichols's Hist. oi Leicestershire, p. 119.