Graham's Dyke - Encyclopedia

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GRAHAM'S DYKE (or SHEUGI = trench), a local name for the Roman fortified frontier, consisting of rampart, forts and road, which ran across the narrow isthmus of Scotland from the Forth to the Clyde (about 36 m.), and formed from A.D. 140 till about 185 the northern frontier of Roman Britain. The name is locally explained as recording a victorious assault on the defences by one Robert Graham and his men; it has also been connected with the Grampian Hills and the Latin surveying term groma. But, as is shown by its earliest recorded spelling, Grymisdyke (Fordun, A.D. 1385), it is the same as the term Grim's Ditch which occurs several times in England in connexion with early ramparts - for example, near Wallingford in south Oxfordshire or between Berkhampstead (Herts) and Bradenham (Bucks). Grim seems to be a Teutonic god or devil, who might be credited with the wish to build earthworks in unreasonably short periods of time. By antiquaries the Graham's Dyke is usually styled the Wall of Pius or the Antonine Vallum, after the emperor Antoninus Pius, in whose reign it was constructed. See further BRITAIN: Roman. (F. J. H.)

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