Hadrian's Wall and the End of Empire: The Roman Frontier in the 4th and 5th Centuries, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Hadrian's Wall and the End of Empire

The Roman Frontier in the 4th and 5th Centuries, 1st Edition

By Rob Collins


232 pages | 50 B/W Illus.

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There is no synthetic or comprehensive treatment of any late Roman frontier in the English language to date, despite the political and economic significance of the frontiers in the late antique period. Examining Hadrian’s Wall and the Roman frontier of northern England from the fourth century into the Early Medieval period, this book investigates a late frontier in transition from an imperial border zone to incorporation into Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, using both archaeological and documentary evidence. With an emphasis on the late Roman occupation and Roman military, it places the frontier in the broader imperial context.

In contrast to other works, Hadrian’s Wall and the End of Empire challenges existing ideas of decline, collapse, and transformation in the Roman period, as well as its impact on local frontier communities. Author Rob Collins analyzes in detail the limitanei, the frontier soldiers of the late empire essential for the successful maintenance of the frontiers, and the relationship between imperial authorities and local frontier dynamics. Finally, the impact of the end of the Roman period in Britain is assessed, as well as the influence that the frontier had on the development of the Anglian kingdom of Northumbria.


‘Robert Collins is one of the leading authorities on Hadrian’s Wall in the fourth and fifth centuries. His analysis of the Wall and its communities during this time of transformation is essential reading for students of the Empire’s frontiers.’ – Ian Haynes, Newcastle University, UK

"…a thought provoking and scholarly study…" - Current Archaeology

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Hadrian’s Wall and the Frontier from Construction to Collapse 2. The Limitanei 3. "Per Lineam Valli" 4. Britons and Barbarians 5. Interpreting Military Transformation 6. The Fifth Century and After 7. The Frontier at the End of Empire: Decline, Collapse, or Transformation? Conclusion

About the Author

Rob Collins is Lecturer in Archaeology at Newcastle University and Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme at the Museum of Antiquities, Newcastle University and Durham County Council. He is editor of Debating Late Antiquity in Britain, AD 300-700 (with J. Gerrard, 2004) and Finds from the Frontier: Material Culture in the 4th and 5th Centuries (with L. Allason-Jones, 2009).

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Archaeology

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General
HISTORY / Ancient / Rome
HISTORY / Europe / General
HISTORY / Europe / Italy
HISTORY / Military / Other