Those people who stick to me on twitter might have found me tweet these visuals previously currently, but I couldn’t resist publishing about them here on the weblog far too. I have been sent a great set of 1912 postcards showing reconstructions of historic Lincoln. Most of them show Medieval sights, but two referencing the city’s Roman stays are really great, even though inaccurate to the place of getting farcical.
The only ‘proper’ Roman reconstruction in the established (as opposed to standing remains demonstrated in a Medieval context, underneath) purport to depict ‘Roman Lincoln (Lindum Colonia), circa 50AD’. This then, is a reconstruction of the IX Legion’s fortress.
Its difficult to quite know exactly where to get started debunking the precision of the picture – the topography, for instance, is fairly off. Everyone who has struggled to climb Lincoln’s Steep Hill will be bewildered to see the southern walls of the hilltop fortress mere yards absent from the waterfront, on properly level ground. The walls themselves are fantastic stone edifices of the sort that would not be viewed till the basis of the Colonia in the late 1st / early 2nd Century, some fifty yrs afterwards at the very minimum. The artist has helpfully labelled ‘Newport Arch’ (at the right of the photo), although the gateway we now know by that name would not arrive into existence until eventually the early 3rd Century. I significantly like the two units of adhere determine Legionaries, one marching in when the other leaves, like some ancient altering of the adhere-guard.
It is within the fortress that points get specially great, though, as dominating the south west corner is a motte with a keep on top rated – no much less a monument than the 11th/12th Century Lucy Tower of Lincoln Castle.
Depicted in a suitably Romanesque type, with an amphitheatre-like exterior and some form of classical building perched on top rated, pretty what Roman perform the artist assumed the structure carried out is a mystery, as is why he believed it was Roman in the to start with area. The other interior buildings are at minimum plausibly classical in the most normal sense, but stay a total fantasy. How the fortress was supposed to perform with this kind of a modest number of substantial civilian properties in its place of the far more regular barracks, headquarters, workshops and so forth is not obvious. There are some really handsome tree-lined avenues, although, which I’m guaranteed the troopers appreciated.
The 2nd image is of Lincoln Castle in c.1212. The depiction of the Castle itself is, as you may well by now anticipate, instead lousy, like the alternatively outstanding addition of a complete new gateway in the north wall. Cobb Corridor, also, almost certainly did not exist in 1212, but by the specifications established by the illustrations or photos that seems a instead small blunder. Medieval precision is not this blog’s emphasis, nonetheless, and it is the Roman components that when again attract my interest.
Both equally Newport Arch and the upper west gate can be found. Newport Arch, wanting strangely like some packhorse bridge, is at least vaguely in the correct placement, but the west gate fares significantly less effectively. Its real location is just to the north of the Castle’s west gate, and it still sits safeguarded underneath the Castle’s banking institutions. Uncovered in 1836, the gate collapsed soon just after discovery, hopefully not crushing the bad chap depicted standing under it in the present-day engraving, under.
So, who do we have to thank for these reconstructions (and considerably as I have been cruel about them, I do imagine them rather excellent)? The postcards were being created by the F.G.P. Publishing Enterprise of Lincoln, but sadly the artist is not named. Hopefully the exclusive colourful fashion of the photographs will allow somebody to recognize them in foreseeable future.
It is worthy of declaring that, while scholarly knowledge of Roman Lincoln in 1912 was not what it is nowadays, it was not fully absent. Take, for case in point, a pamphlet released in July 1912 by Arthur Smith of the City and County Museum, aspect of an ongoing series he wrote on Roman discoveries in the city (you can download extra of them from The Selection museum’s means webpage). The artist had no justification for receiving so a great deal detail wrong, but we can continue to enjoy these vibrant but fantastical reconstructions for what they are.