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Garrison Life at Vindolanda: A Band of Brothers
Garrison Life at Vindolanda: A Band of Brothers (Paperback)
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The ink writing-tablets, first indentified at Roman Vindolanda, just south of Hadrian's Wall, in 1973, revealed a hitherto unknown papyrus-substitute, thin leaves of wood for day-to-day book-keeping and letters. Dating mostly from the years AD 90-125 (Hadrian's Wall was begun in 122), these unique tablets represent the largest collection of original Roman letters ever found. This book paints a detailed picture of two Roman auxilary regiments, the 9th Cohort of Batavians and the 1st Cohort of Tungrians. Among the 400 named officers and personnel, the Batavian prefect Flavius Cerialis features prominently, together with his wife Sulpicia Lepidina, who received the now famous birthday party invitation from her friend Claudia Severa, wife of Cerialis' colleague and fellow hunting enthusiast Aelius Brocchus. In addition to covering officers and familes, friends and colleagues, this book brings to life the ordinary soldiers and their names and duties; military routine, duty-reports, leave and deserters; the supply of food, drink and other goods; merchants and contractors; visitors and entertainment as well as day-to-day enthusiasms as varied as hunting and religion.

This book, by the Chairman of the Vindolanda Trust, not only distils all the recovered material, including many unpublished writing-tablets, but makes full use of the other archaeological evidence. The result is an unparalleled insight into the spirit of the day-today life on the north-west edge of the Empire in the three decades before Hadrian's Wall was built. Anthony Birley, Professor of Ancient History at Manchester 1974 - 90 and at Dusseldorf 1990 - 2002, is one of Britain's best-known ancient historians. The author of many major works, Professor Birley was born and brought up in the house next to Vindolanda, and has taken part in many of the excavations there.

History & Politics >> History: Chronological >> Ancient history: to c 500 CEHistory & Politics >> History: Chronological >> Early history: c 500 to c 1450/1500History & Politics >> Regional & national history >> European history >> British & Irish history Publisher: The History Press Ltd Publication Date: 15/02/2002 ISBN-13: 9780752419503  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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This excellent introduction to the fort at Vindolanda and its treasures showcases the unique archive of letters and reports that has been preserved for almost two millennia in the Northumbrian mud. Anthony Birley, recently retired Professor of Ancient History at Düsseldorf, combines his brother Robin’s excavation results with the astonishing information in the writing tablets to provide a lively account of the duties, injustices, socialising and wheeler-dealing that made up garrison life in northern Britain. Amongst many gems are the revelations that on the 18 May over half the Vindolanda garrison was away, the locals were thought of as 'pathetic little Brits' and Major liked writing his letters in bed.

Review reproduced with permission from www.archaeology.co.uk

Charing Cross Rd Bookshop - 22/02/2011

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