Hadrian's Wall: a comeback by the Romans in the North





Museum openings, a big dig and a new film make this an ideal time to visit Hadrian's bequest to Britain, says Sophie Campbell.

Mist, dripping trees, stones black with wet. Thank Jupiter I’m not in a tunic; this is the sort of damp that rusts your armour and dribbles down your greaves into your socks.

Yes, the Romans wore socks. I don’t know why I find that so hilarious, but I do. They wore socks and hobnail boots in the winter and you could hear a legion coming for miles, entrenching tools and cooking pots clanking from wood frames carried over one shoulder.

We will see this for ourselves on March 18, when the film of Rosemary Sutcliff’s much-loved children’s novel The Eagle of the Ninth opens. It’s the story of a young centurion, Marcus Aquila, who sets off to Hadrian’s Wall with his British slave (played by Jamie Bell) in AD140. He plans to restore the honour – and recover the eagle standard – of the Ninth Legion, commanded by his father, which disappeared without trace in Scotland 20 years before....


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