The military limes : aspects of the comparative development function and significance of the linear frontier systems of the Roman empire up to AD 200
The frontier systems considered in the following work are defined as deliberately arranged preclusive cordons of forts and minor installations, generally supplemented in the second century by continuous barriers. It is argued that such systems only existed in the provinces of Britain, Upper Germany, Raetia and Dacia. Dacia is not treated in detail. The first chapter considers the date of origin and stages of development of the Upper German and Raetian land frontier before the Hadrianic period. Chapter 2 reviews the evidence for the daXe and existence of linear frontiers in Britain before Hadrian. A comparative study in Chapter 3 suggests the function and the historical significance of these earl .y linear systems. Chapter 4 discusses aspects of the Continental linear frontiers of the second century and presents a sector by sector description of the setting and distribution of their installations. This is complemented in Chapter 5 by a discussion of the Hadrianic and Antonine Walls in Britain. In particular the evidence for two periods of occupation in Antonine Scotland is examined in detail. It is concluded that the Antonine Wall was held for a single period. on the basis of the conclusions of Chapters 4 and 5, in Chapter 6 the second century frontiers are classified into types geared to varying intensities of frontier infiltration. Functions are suggested for individual frontier installations. The significance of the second century frontier walls is discussed, centring upon the question, broached in recent works on the subject, of whether these systems possessed any defensive or political rationale or were merely random by-products of aggressive Roman imperialism, military blunders and apathy. In Chapter 7 frontiers elsewhere in the empire are briefly examined to establish that (excepting Dacia), none displays a truly linear frontier system of the type characteristic of the provinces of northwest Europe.