Friday, 3 February 2012

Big Roman Buildings

After posting about Ravenglass, I looked up more about it on the web. (Yes, probably I should have done that before posting, but I reserve the right to blether.)  I discovered that it used to be called Glannaventa, and that it was garrisoned by, first, the Aelian Fleet, and, later, by a rather dim-sounding lot of auxiliaries called the Moroni. I also discovered that it claims to be the tallest surviving Roman building in England.

This last is clearly wrong.  Here are two pictures of Roman buildings which seem to me to be taller.  The upper one is Wroxeter Roman baths (a city bath-house is naturally going to be taller than the one at Ravenglass, which was, after all, only a little bitty auxiliary fort at the back of beyond). (It, too, survived through being used as a barn--but isn't the hypocaust nice?)  The lower picture is me a few years ago in front of the Multi-angular tower at York, part of the renovations to the city wall undertaken for the time Septimius Severus was in residence. (I wrote about him in Dark North)  (It wasn't a barn. It was kept up as part of the city wall.)  I strongly suspect that some of the Saxon Shore forts are taller than Ravenglass as well (I mean, Portchester is actually intact!)
Everything's relative, though.  None of the Roman buildings in England is a patch on the beautiful sites of Italy, Greece, or Turkey. (Above is the Pantheon at Rome.)  If I queried English Heritage, I'd probably find they meant that Ravenglass was the tallest surviving military building in the North of England.

We have a Roman fort here in Coventry, which I now designate the tallest Roman military building in the south-central West Midlands.  The bank must be a few feet high.

No comments:

Post a Comment