Tag Archives: Roman Empire

Jars of Clay [Book Review]

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Book Review

With excitement I turn to this novel because I just read a story on clays and I liked it, however this novel is a completely different aspect as clay writing goes. A Roman setting is intriguing because I am always curious about the life of people during the Roman Empire.

I love that the author tried to show a view of both the title and servant life. Through Helena, the reader followed a rich compassionate girl free to roam {to the point of safety} but could not decide her fate. Through Felicity, {Helen’s servant} we glimpse the duties of a servant with very little mobility – women were not their own.

The character names ring a Roman bell making the story a more true empire one, the dominance of one brother over another and the uncertainty in being a girl even in a rich home, reflects the times of the empire. The author skilfully showed the patriarchal rule both in public and private sphere, how Brutus word is law and his wife, a mere overseer of household duties. Cassius roam freely, creeping closer to the girl he loved- money allowed him. However, for Lucius although a free young man, he was a servant commoner and interaction with Helena could mean death for him and dismay for his family.When the author shows a love interest between Helena and Lucius, it exposes the difficulty of a bond between a rich girl and a commoner. I like that the author made the meetings between the two charming but full of danger.

It is a lovely story, clean romance which offers some details of life in  Roman city , to know how the love story between Helena and Lucius really ends, I need to read the second part of the novel. The first was intriguing enough for a dive into volume 2.

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A Brief History of Some Walls: Hadrian Wall

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This week in the series  A Brief History of Some Walls in History  we journey to a wall which is very popular with visitors in England, contributing  much to the economy of  the Northern Districts:The Hadrian Wall.

The wall travelling 73 miles [80 Roman miles] through Carlisle, Newcastle, Northumbria and Cumbria, is the most elaborate Northern most defence frontier of the Roman Empire in the UK. In 1987, The Hadrian Wall received World Heritage status from UNESCO because of its relevance as a reminder of Roman military practise in Britain. According to John J. Wilkes, historians at first doubted  the emperor who constructed the wall, thus it was known as the Roman Wall or the Picts Wall [the Picts attacked around the time the Romans rule ended]. At the beginning of the quarter of the century, excavations dubbed Emperor Publius Aelius Hadrianus as the builder, he ruled from (117-138 AD). Guy de la Bédoyère notes that the wall became more an Aelius Wall in 2003, when a metal detector user found a bronze small enamelled vessel, in the West Midlands. The cup, though not the first Roman souvenir of the area provides evidence for a Hadrian wall because of its inscriptions.

The Hadrian Wall constructed from AD 120 to 130 AD was ten feet, made of stone in the west but composed of turf in the east. Some authors believe the use of white paint on both sides of the grey stone wall, was the Roman way of the wall standing out to show the power and dominance of the imperial empire. Workers built a ditch along the Northern face of the wall and forts occupied the length of the wall. Every Roman mile,  the men built castles along the wall known as milecastles. The Vallum [later called by that name] was a ditch and mound system which served as an earthen frontier to the south of the wall. Different weather patterns and constant repairs to finished and unfinished parts of the wall, kept the army very busy on the frontier. According to Guy de la Bédoyère, the materials for the wall were free but the  Emperor paid his soldiers.

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