Britannia – Rome’s Most Northern Border

In 37 AD Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, better known as Cladius, becomes shares consulship with his nephew Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, better known as Caligula. There was ill-will amongst the family over shared rule, especially since Claudius was seen as infirm due to a crippling illness at a young age.

In 41 AD, Caligula was murdered by the Praetorian Guard and its German commander. Claudius was not directly linked to the assissination, but was thought to have possibly known about it for he escaped from Rome prior to the assissination possibly escaping death himself.

Roman Emperor Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus
Roman Emperor Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus

With his co-consul thus eliminated, Claudius became sole ruler himself and Rome’s 4th Emperor. As the newest ruler of the Empire, Claudius sought to expand the territory to provide his name with some conquering achievement. The Emperor looked to the Northwest thus beginning the Roman conquest of Britannia in 43 AD.

Since 55 BC, tributes had been paid from Roman Britain thanks to Julius Caesar. Now that Emperor Claudius had again focused attention on Britannia a province had been officially established. Conquering General Aulus Plautius became the 1st Governor.

320px-Roman_Britain_campaigns_43_to_84From 43 – 84 AD there were campaigns throughout Britannia. Legio II Augusta, Legio IX Hispania, Legio XIV Gemina, and Legio XX Valeria Victrix were the staples of the conquest. Circa 70 AD, the Roman conquest of northern Britain begins and the Legionary fortress at York is built.

Throughout the 70’s AD Roman roads were constructed and forts were erected. As time passed campaigns pressed ever northward moving from present England to Wales and Scotland. Publius Cornelius Tacitus wrote of his father-in-law and Governor of Britannia, Gnaeus Julius Agricola,  and the Battle of Mons Graupius. It was after this battle, in 83 or 84 AD, that the entire island and all the tribes of Britannia were proclaimed to be under Roman control.

This was partially true except for the Caledonian tribe in Scotland. Since they were so far to the north the economic and political benefits did not outweigh the expenses, so the Caledonians were left alone for quite some time. This was a problem since the Caledonians gained allegiance with other rebel tribes over time. Emperors Titus Flavius Caesar Domitianus Augustus, aka Domitian, Marcus Cocceius Nerva Caesar Augustus, aka Nerva, and Imperator Caesar Nerva Traianus Divi Nervae filius Augustus, aka Trajan, all did not find it necessary to press farther north.

Hadrian - 14th Emperor of the Roman Empire
Hadrian – 14th Emperor of the Roman Empire

In 117 AD Emperor Trajan dies and is succeeded by Publius Aelius Hadrianus Augustus, or simply Hadrian. It is during this time, from 117 – 120s AD that fighting again resumes in Britannia. Because of this fighting Emperor Hadrian begins construction on a wall in 119 AD. With fighting still underway in 122 AD, Hadrian visits Britannia to see both the fighting and the wall.

Hadrian’s Wall was mostly completed in six years, or by 128 AD. The wall ran 80 Roman miles (117.5 km) from East to West. This marvel was a combination of both natural barriers and modern construction. Aside for protection from rebels and bandits the wall was used for control of smuggling, customs, and immigration.

The “Robin Hood Tree” aka Sycamore Gap in Northumberland, England.

Hadrian’s Wall is probably the greatest, and largest, monument in Roman Britain that still survives today. Coming next week will be a more in-depth look at the dementions of the wall and what exactly accompanied it. Till then…Keep on Roman!

Plan Ahead – Traveling with a Disability

According to the U.S. Census Bureau “about 56.7 million people — 19 percent of the population — had a disability in 2010, according to a broad definition of disability, with more than half of them reporting the disability was severe.” This means that roughly 1 in 5 Americans has a disability.

“The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.” While this is helpful for those in America it does not apply when traveling abroad. A helpful place to check for advice is the U.S. Department of State. Checking with the embassy of the country to which you are traveling to can help answer some of your questions.

Prior to heading out a smart idea is to check with the Transportation Security Administration 72 hours ahead of time for any updates. The TSA website also mentions “Travelers may call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227 prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint.”

In addition to speaking with others with your disability who have traveled abroad, it’s also a good idea to contact organizations overseas specializing with disabilities. Traveling with a disability does not have to be any different than those traveling sans disability. All it takes is a little planning. My suggestion for any traveler, disability or not, is that if you can’t carry something yourself don’t take it.

When it comes to medication you should obviously have enough to cover your trip. Carrying extra medication to cover any possible delays is a smart move as well. I always put my prescriptions in my carry-on when I go anywhere. This way my medication is at easy access thus ensuring a safer, more enjoyable trip.

Prior to leaving it’s also a good idea to consult with your physician or pharmacist to know the generic names of your specific prescriptions. Pharmacists are more likely to have generic brands available and will be more familiar with that name. If you need, another good idea is to carry a note from your doctor, on official letterhead, which describes your condition along with any medications you are taking.

Be specific and clear with others when describing your condition. Not everyone in the travel industry is familiar with each disability; it is our job to be as upfront about anything special we need. The more we share the better our experience will be. Making unusually long trips less of a hassel and avoiding pitfalls is a bonus of being specific and clear with you respective physician.

If you happen to be traveling with a service dog you will definitely need to plan ahead. Documentation to avoid quarantines may take weeks or months, so start now. Since this is all about seeing the Roman Empire it will be helpful to know about assistance in Europe.

If you have a disability or ailment, then you already know it’s not always easy to travel. You are not alone and you’ll find people who will be happy to help. You just have to ask.