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The Emperor's approval


Three factors would have influenced the building of walls around the town: they were to defend the town and control trade but their principle purpose was to demonstrate status.

Town walls could only be built with the express permission of the Emperor. They were effectively a seal of approval for the town and, more to the point, its council. Members of the council (the curia) would have been rich merchants and entrepreneurs, perhaps the descendants of the local aristocracy, immigrant traders or army veterans. To them would have fallen the cost of design and construction of the walls.

The Emperor's approval

Building the walls would have been labour intensive and expensive. The masonry wall had a facing of squared stones set in waterproof mortar and a core of flint and chalk rubble in lime mortar. To allow the mortar to dry it was built gradually, in layers about half a metre high. As the build progressed, earth from a V-shaped ditch dug in front of the wall was heaped behind it to form a rampart. The final touch would have been a protective coat of whitewashed render.

The wall would have been about seven metres tall, with a crenellated parapet protecting a walkway along the top of the rampart. There were four gateways, allowing access to the town from the north, south, west and east.

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