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Forum LockedThe Real Reason For Offa`s Dyke

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Wulfstan View Drop Down
Janissary
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    Posted: 26-May-2009 at 19:36
In 793 Charlemagne had started a huge project to build a canal linking the rivers Rhine and Danube. It had a practical purpose and also a symbolic one in terms of prestige for the emperor. King Offa of the Mercians, it seems, was not one to stand by and be outdone. He decided to build a great dyke, a barrier, to reduce the continual raiding by the Welsh into Mercia, and also to compete with the emperor.

It covers some 149 miles along the Welsh frontier, with fairly long gaps where it follows the line of the rivers Severn and Wye. Not likely to have been permantly garrisoned, it would have served as an obstacle, a "tripwire", to diminsh any raiding by the Welsh.

Unlike Charlemagne`s grand canal however, this impressive dyke was completed, and as such it must have given King Offa a sense of deep satisfaction.
From Woden sprang all our royal kin.
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Terri Ann View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Terri Ann Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-May-2009 at 20:17

I think it was more symbolic than anything.  After all, Hadrians Wall it wasn't, and even though I understand there may have been some kind of palisade on parts of it, it was never going to stop an invader with an ounce of determination.

It was a great exercise in "look how clever, innovative and powerful I am" though.
 
Legend has it that the English were allowed to cut off the ears of every Welshman found on the east of the dyke, and the Welsh were allowed to hang every Englishman on the west of it.   Wonder if that was true!   Wouldn't be surprised!LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Huscarl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-May-2009 at 00:26
Was it a barrier to control and monitor Anglo-Welsh trading, as Hadrian's wall was supposed to be doing with the Romano-Picts?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wulfstan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-May-2009 at 10:05
Originally posted by Huscarl Huscarl wrote:

Was it a barrier to control and monitor Anglo-Welsh trading, as Hadrian's wall was supposed to be doing with the Romano-Picts?
 
The absence of crossing points and the little of evidence for cross border trading would rule out that possibility. Moreover, on the Welsh side of the barrier there is evidence of a military ditch, suggesting the great dyke was in fact a defensive structure. Warfare too was endemic at this time between the Welsh and Mercians, and had been for a hundred years.
 
 
Source: "Mercia: an Anglo-Saxon kingdom In Europe".
From Woden sprang all our royal kin.
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