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Prufrock: A History of Hadrian’s Wall, Einstein’s Xenophobia, and the Strange Case of the Missing Joyce Scholar

Why did the Romans build Hadrian’s Wall? Nigel Spivey reviews Adrian Goldsworthy’s new book on the structure: “It is a principle of Adrian Goldsworthy’s succinct and eminently sensible new account of Hadrian’s Wall that the project was essentially ‘intended to assist the Roman army in performing the tasks assigned to it in northern Britain.’ One immediate rejoinder to that premise is that Roman legionaries had strange ideas about making life easier for themselves, if they undertook this amount of muscular spadework—but never mind. To rationalize the effort remains a challenge. Goldsworthy patiently explains how the system worked, once it was in place, enabling the Romans to control such human traffic as there was in these limestone and basalt uplands. But—as we know—big walls tend to be built on big ideas. The ideology of this wall calls for further speculative exploration.”The strange case of the mi…read more weeklystandard.com

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