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Batavians at Vindolanda

There are many references to Batavians at Vindolanda. These were the people who wrote on the tablets and the people who arguably had more influence on the site than any others. But who exactly were they? Well they weren't Romans but Dutch. They came from the land lying between the old course of the Rhine and the River Waal. Basically the modern city of Nijmegen.

Alastair Moffat in his excellent book, The Wall , then explains that they were exceptional cavalry warriers and formed the Imperial Horseguards. He then mentions that out of a population of approximately 35,000 almost 5,000 were enlisted in the Roman army. The reason for this high level of recruitment was that in exchange for no taxation their ruling families had to supply military recruits.

There is another interesting aside in "The Wall" when it says

" There was real wealth washing around the northern frontier in AD 100".

This is worth remembering as today the area of the Wall tends to be regarded as an economic backwater. Isolated and rural it isn't where you would expect to find crack troops and wealth hand in hand.

 Other references

The Wall, Alastair Moffat.