Ellenborough (Maryport): Recognizing Roman Civility in the Border Landscape

Richard Hingley

in Hadrian's Wall

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199641413
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745720 | DOI:
Ellenborough (Maryport): Recognizing Roman Civility in the Border Landscape

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The Picts' Wall was a focus of considerable interest during the late sixteenth century and the first decade of the seventeenth. Late in the reign of Queen Elizabeth and during the succeeding reign of King James, playwrights, poets, historians, antiquaries, and mapmakers were intent on exploring the character and history of England and establishing an identity for the English. In this context, William Camden's influential volume Britannia used classical texts to construct an ancestral geography for the kingdom. This chapter focuses on Camden's image of the character of the Picts' Wall and compares this with the creation of a living spirit for the monument in ‘Song XXIX’ of Michael Drayton's poetical work, Poly-Olbion (1622). The chapter explores the relationship of these works to the Wall's function in bounding contemporary England, and makes some observations on the relationship between history and story in the writings of Camden and Drayton.

Keywords: Picts' Wall; William Camden; Britannia; ancient monuments; Song XXIX; Michael Drayton; Poly-Olbion

Chapter.  8927 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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