Soldiers on the frontier must have been very glad of Hadrian’s milecastles. With thick, high walls and two large, stout, wooden gates they offered protection from the harsh weather, wild animals and (not to mention) the nefarious locals.
Milecastles were an important part of Hadrian’s plan and, without fail, they were built at every Roman mile along the Wall. This added up to a lot: 80, possibly even 81, in total. As nearly every one had a gateway through the Wall, it meant a lot of ways to pass across the frontier. But the big question is whom, if anyone, did the soldiers allow through? Undoubtedly, the shadier elements of the local population were turned away, but what about farmers with their livestock or merchants with their wares?
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