Romans once thought Hadrian’s Wall was built by Severus

24 September 2022

Hadrian, who was Roman Emperor from 117 until 138 CE, built Hadrian’s Wall, right? Why else name the famous stone barricade after him? But as this fascinating Twitter thread by John Bull points out, for a long time it was believed someone else was responsible:

So you know Hadrian’s Wall? Well for over 1000 years everyone thought it was built by someone else.

Severus, who was Emperor from 193 to 211 CE, was one person nominated by Roman historians:

Severus was a pretty safe bet for these Roman historians. Everyone knew he’d done a lot of campaigning in Britain. He’d definitely built a bunch of stuff there. Even died there. HE built the big wall, they said.

But no, it was Hadrian. To his credit however, Severus did strengthen the wall several decades after its construction.