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Line of light illuminates Hadrian's Wall - and history

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Image: Telegraph

A "line of light" shadowed the remains of Hadrian's Wall as several thousand volunteers held beacons at 820-foot intervals. The first torch was lit at Segedunum Roman Fort in Wallsend, North Tyneside, at about 6pm on Saturday.

The final beacon was ignited at Bowness-on-Solway, on Cumbria's west coast, about an hour later, with the entire "line of light" remaining illuminated for about half an hour. Hadrian's Wall Heritage organized the event.

Built by Roman legions and completed in AD 136, Hadrian's Wall ran from the River Tyne to Solway Firth and marked the northern limit of Roman control in Britain. Six feet high, 8 feet thick and 73 and a half miles long, bristling with forts and Roman soldiers, the wall was meant to isolate the islanders of the north who had not surrendered.

But they would not stay put. They broke through the wall, and when a second wall was built, they broke through that. Eventually, with their empire under attack, the Romans abandoned Britain.

Brits never forgot that they loved freedom. Over the next two thousand years they would face invaders at least fifteen times. Even when defeated by Normans, they successfully resurrected their liberties, customs and independence.

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