Brick for Brick

Recreations of Hadrian’s Wall and The Great Wall, by artists alas unknown.

Brick for Brick

I grew up with castles and churches and manors,
Their architecture feels like home –
While Indian temples and Chinese pagodas
Were glorious aliens in stone.
It all made sense that Kublai Khan
Had not one dome in his Pleasure Dome

But when I saw the Great Ming Wall,
It all felt too familiar –
It looked like something the Romans might have built,
Had they reached this far
Rounded arches, crenellations, arrow loops –
All quite bizarre.

The only telltale signs were in the watchtowers,
And their roofs –
Simple saddelbacks, slightly concave,
They were hard-hill-hatted booths.
Not like the four-square hips of the Romans –
Projections providing proofs.

Except…on many of the towers we see,
These structures are robbed away.
And we’re left with familiarity
That’s out-of-place, astray.
Was it built-up piecemeal, really ?
At this point, who can say ?

From what I can see in images, the watchtowers had roofs that were a mix of hard-hill and hanging-hill, the difference being that the latter had slightly overhanging eaves as in the image below.

Photo by Tom Fisk on Pexels.com

To be clear, saddleback roofs (aka gable roofs) were not unknown to Romans, but not I think used atop their watchtowers.

Arbeia Gate by Michael Kooiman and Limes WP 3/26 by Carole Raddato, both showing recreations of what is believed to have stood.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s