Technology in Ancient Rome
The excellence of Roman engineering and construction stands the test of time as many of their buildings and structures are still standing and used today. They contributed to engineering in the development of roads, use of architectural techniques and materials, and the construction of civil infrastructure such as the aqueducts. Much of this technology was the foundation for the engineering used to build today’s greatest cities. The Romans also created a calendar which is the basis for the one we use today.
One of the most significant developments within the Roman Empire was the establishment of aqueducts. Aqueducts were channels that brought clean water from springs and rivers to Roman towns and cities. The aqueducts were built throughout the empire and totalled over 258 miles in length. Aqueducts ran both above and below ground, and were even built on top of bridges. They were also used to irrigate farms and carry away waste water. This invention’s impacts can still be seen today as contemporary plumbing and sanitation systems are derived from a rediscovery of the Roman aqueducts.
Since the Roman Empire covered such vast expanses, they had to come up with an efficient way to travel and moved their products, so they created roads. The roads were solid and built to withstand even the harshest environments and flooding. They crossed throughout the empire, leading to the popular phrase “all roads lead to Rome”. They allowed legions and merchants to move quickly. Many of these roads are still used today.
Roman structures were so durable due to their use of concrete. They made concrete by combining lime and volcanic ash to create a liquid which formed a stronger material when set. Many of the Roman structures that are still standing today were built with this concrete. With this material Romans were able to create new architectural designs such as the arch. The Arch was a curved structure that Romans used to build. It could support massive weight because it was built with concrete and a keystone. The keystone was the final stone that would lock the other blocks in the arch into place.
The Julian Calendar was created by Julius Caesar in 46 BCE. The original Roman calendar put the empire out of step with the seasons. It did this because they believed even numbers were unlucky. The new Julian Calendar made the year exactly 365 days long vs. the old 355 day calendar.