Frontiers of the Roman Empire

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Rhaetian Wall; from c.73 | Hadrian’s Wall; from c.122 | Antonine Wall; 142–54

The Roman Empire established the Roman way of life across a vast territory that encircled the Mediterranean, taking in land on three continents – Europe, Africa and Asia – as well as some furtherflung places such as the island of Britannia.

The border between the zone of civilization and the surrounding barbarian territories was called the limes, or limit. There were places where natural boundaries meant that the limes did not need definition – where a range of mountains or a body of water separated the populations on each side. A long ...

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