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Trump v. Hadrian

What Donald Trump Can Learn From Emperor Hadrian

Extra Newsfeed, Sept. 8, 2016

If any Americans thought Donald Trump wasn’t serious about building The Wall, he made it crystal-clear in the speech he gave in Phoenix on August 31. “We will build a great wall along the southern border,” Trump promised supporters after returning from a brief trip to Mexico. “And Mexico will pay for the wall.” Warming to his theme, Trump rhapsodized that it will be “tangible, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful.”

Back in June, when Trump visited his golf resort in Scotland, it’s too bad he didn’t make a detour to northeastern England. There, he could have seen the ancient precedent for the wall of his dreams.

Hadrian’s Wall was built by the Roman emperor Hadrian (76–138 AD) to protect his British subjects from the fearsome Caledones (Caledonians) in the unconquered north. The stone wall once ran all the way across Britain at its narrow midsection, a distance of 73 miles. Large portions of it remain standing in the counties of Cumbria and Northumberland. The wall is now a World Heritage Site, and you can hike the entire length of it on a national trail.

The history of Hadrian’s Wall is a cautionary tale for Trump.

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