162AD: Romans abandon Grym’s Dyke after just 20 years

Old the Front Page 162AD

The Antonine Wall was named after the Roman Emperor who commissioned it, but was known locally as ‘Grym’s Dyke’
meaning ‘the devil’s wall.’

It took 20 years to build and cut Scotland in two with its 35-mile length across the central belt, representing the northern perimeter of the empire.

But just two decades years later it had been abandoned, as troops were required elsewhere. Those living under its protection might easily have felt abandoned, although many would have welcomed the move.

It was almost certainly re-used before the Romans finally left for ever. But recent investigation suggests there were more temporary guard walls further north in Scotland, and built later –meaning the empire didn’t necessarily stop at its self-built boundary.

Consul Marcus Annius Libo died suddenly in mysterious circumstances while in Syria with joint emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. It’s suspected he may have been a victim of the rising resentment between the Roman leaders.