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Preparing for war

Introduction

In Britain during the late third and early fourth centuries there was a period of great prosperity.


In Britain during the late third and early fourth centuries there was a period of great prosperity. However the empire had expanded beyond its means and was finding it difficult to defend its territories. In a last, potentially self-destructive attempt to ensure security, Roman town walls were put on a war footing by the addition of bastions.

Preparing for war

Bastions were 12 metre tall artillery towers, constructed in a similar way to the earlier walls, the difference being the use of huge stone foundations to support their enormous weight and prevent undermining.

The lower half of a bastion would have been solid. But the upper accommodated two floors from which ballistae could be fired.

The bastions were an expensive gamble; the cost of building them was damaging to the local economy in the short term but they were intended to guarantee the long term survival of the town.

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