Rome's Saxon Shore: Coastal Defences of Roman Britain AD 250-500

Overview

Although the exact dates of construction of the so-called Saxon Shore forts are uncertain, the development of the frontier system that ran form the Wash to the Solent on the south-east coast of Roman Britain was spread over at least a century and a half. Many of the new forts were notable for the superior strength of their defences, with thicker stone walls bristling with projecting curved bastions. These and other features were clearly designed to them more difficult to storm than old-style frontier forts with ...
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Overview

Although the exact dates of construction of the so-called Saxon Shore forts are uncertain, the development of the frontier system that ran form the Wash to the Solent on the south-east coast of Roman Britain was spread over at least a century and a half. Many of the new forts were notable for the superior strength of their defences, with thicker stone walls bristling with projecting curved bastions. These and other features were clearly designed to them more difficult to storm than old-style frontier forts with their classic playing-card shape and internal towers. Defense earlier in the Roman era had meant aggressive response in the open field or even offensive pre-emptive strikes into enemy territory. The new trend was to build stronger, the emphasis being on solid, more static defense, anticipating attack and absorbing it rather than going out to meet it. Most of the major harbours and estuaries of the east and south-east coasts of Britain were fortified in this manner. There was a similar series of military installations across the Channel in Gaul, extending along the northern coast as far as what is now Brittany.

Whatever their precise tactical and strategic function, a continuing debate to which this book contributes, the construction of these stone forts represented a huge outlay of money, and commitment of manpower and materials. The Saxon Shore Forts are among the most impressive surviving monuments of Roman Britain. This book addresses a number ofthe fascinating questions they provoke - Who built these Forts? When and for what purposes? How were they built? How did they operate? Who garrisoned them, and for how long?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This excellent new military history is a recommended pick for any specialty collection strong in in-depth coverage." -Library Bookwatch (July 2007)

"As an introduction to early British history, this is an excellent book... it is a serious work that draws upon the most recent scholarship." -Bolling Smith, The Coast Defense Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781846030949
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 12/26/2006
  • Series: Fortress Series
  • Pages: 64
  • Product dimensions: 7.25 (w) x 9.75 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr Nic Fields started his career as a biochemist before joining the Royal Marines. Having left the military, he went back to University and completed a BA and PhD in Ancient History at the University of Newcastle. He was Assistant Director at the British School at Athens, Greece, and then a lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Edinburgh. Nic is now a freelance author and researcher based in south-west France. The author lives in France.
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Table of Contents


Introduction     4
Chronology     8
Britannia     9
Carausius
Barbarica conspiratio
Stilicho
Constantinus
Design     18
Construction methods
Raw materials
Human resources
Anatomy     24
Defences
Brancaster-Branoduno
Caister-on-Sea
Burgh Castle-Gariannum
Walton Castle
Bradwell-Othona
Reculver-Regulbium
Richborough-Rutupiae
Dover-Dubris
Lympne-Lemanis
Pevensey-Anderitum
Portchester-Portus Adurni
Function     38
Notitia Dignitatum
Anti-pirate defence
Defence against Rome
Fortified ports
Occupation     46
Internal buildings
Garrisons
Extra-mural activity
Twilight years
The sites today     58
Brancaster
Caister-on-Sea
Burgh Castle
Walton Castle
Bradwell
Reculver
Richborough
Dover
Lympne
Pevensey
Porchester
Useful contact information
Glossary     62
Bibliography     63
Index     64
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