THE ANTONINE GUARD
LIVING ROMAN HISTORY
 
The Antonine Wall
 
 

The Emperor Antoninius Pius ordered the construction in 139 AD to the Governor of Britain, Quintus Lollius Urbicus to build the Antonine Wall. This was to act as a defence against the warlike tribes in the north and protect the lands to the south. It would also advance the boundaries of the Roman Empire still further.

The Antonine Wall stretched for Bo'ness on the river Forth to Old Kilpatrick on the river Clyde, being some 37 miles in length.

Construction was in the main of timber and turf that lay upon a stone foundation. There were some 19 Forts with signal stations along the route of the wall.

The Antonine Wall stood about 12 feet in height, surmounted by a wooden walk way for the soldiers on patrol. On it's north side it was protected by a V-shaped cut ditch about 40 feet wide. Along the southern side behind the wall was a cobbled road, called the Military Way, which linked up all the Forts allowing troops who garrisoned the frontier to move quickly.

The building of the Antonine Wall was undertaken by legionary's of the 11nd, V1th and XXth Legions, the same three Legions that built Hadrian's Wall some 20 years before.

Around c.155 the Romans moved south but later again marched north to the Antonine Wall about 159AD and remained there till about 163AD.

Close to the town of Bonnybridge in Stirlingshire lies the Fort of Rough Castle, this being one of the best scenic and preserved Forts on the Antonine Wall. Here also as well as the Fort and the various enclosures plus the ditches, can be viewed the remains of pits known to the Romans as "lilia", each contained a pointed stake to trap any unwary foes attempting to attack this Fort on the Antonine Wall.

Although some 2000 years have elapsed since the Roman Armies campaigned on northern soil, the beauty of the Antonine Wall remains one of Scotland's most enduring memorials to it's Roman Heritage.