Driving over the Borders, through the hills that separate England and Scotland, with the rain pouring down like a waterfall from dark clouds that came down and enveloped the top of the hills, it is no wonder that the Romans decided to build Hadrian’s Wall across the country. Today we have the luxury of major road and rail links – then there was nothing very much, so it must have been even more inhospitable. No wonder the hills are bursting with green and purple, there is so much rain.
With all the ongoing discussions around Brexit, does anyone in the UK realise that 2018 is European Year of Cultural Heritage. Opened by HRH the Duke of Gloucester earlier in the summer was a small exhibition at the 12 Star Gallery in Europe House ‘Frontiers of the Roman Empire’ celebration 1900 years of physical and cultural connections in Europe from Romania in the east to Scotland in the north including Hadrian’s Wall and the German Limes, which was essential for the Roman military and created trade and cultural connections across Europe which still exist today. The engineering and military skills of the Romans came to the fore in creating these lines across the continent. The mystery is what happened when they left. While many of the roads and the frontiers remained, albeit gradually becoming ruined, great cities like Bath with its temple to Minerva and its huge bathing complex, the Roman Baths, which we can still see today, fell into decline and decay and a century after the Romans had left it was all in ruins and Britain had moved into the Dark Ages.
The exhibition reinforced the importance of cultural connections across Europe in the past and in the future, no matter how Brexit turns out.