Early Roman Technological and Engineering Advances

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Early Roman Technological and Engineering Advances

Rome is a city in Italy that has always been a source of great innovation and incredible advances in areas of technology and engineering. A city that originated from such humble beginnings soon was able to transform itself into one of the most powerful empires in the world (Dunstan 2010). This transformation can be attributed mainly to Rome’s incredible ability to develop and implement many ideas that allowed the city to flourish (Dunstan 2010). These ideas included but were not limited to drainage systems, mills, and land elevations (Mahdavi 2012). Utilizing these and other advances in technology and engineering allowed Rome to become a more habitable place, and the incredible empire that Ancient Rome was. The Roman Empire originated in the Latium region in the central part of Italy (Mahdavi 2012).

This region is very swampy and low lying, nestled in and amongst many hills. This fact has always made Rome very susceptible to flooding (Dunstan 2010). This frequent flooding made many areas in Rome particularly wet for most of the year (Dunstan 2010). In order for Rome to become more habitable, a solution had to found for the issue with the water. That is when the idea for the Cloaca Maxima drainage system came about. This system measured 1,600 m and drained the entire region lying between the Quirinal and Esquiline hills (Aldrete 2006). This drainage system ultimately emptied into the Tiber River through an orifice measuring 4.5 masl (Aldrete 2006). This drainage system was able to offer the land a nature flow for the water that was there and in turn it left the land drier year round (Aldrete 2006). Prior to the drainage system being Roman technological and engineering implemented, many of the low lying areas in Rome where inaccessible to anyone because of the standing water.

This made the expansion of Rome difficult and transportation difficult if not impossible (Aldrete 2006). Originally the system was designed solely to drain the water into the river but as Rome grew, it was later doubled into a sewage system as well (Aldrete 2006). This drainage system was the first of its kind and the source of inspiration for future systems that were developed. In fact it is the main standing system still in use in present day Rome (Aldrete 2006). Developing a way to drain the water and sewage out of Rome was in itself an incredible accomplishment for the time, but Rome’s attempts to keep the ground drier did not stop there. Fill and rubble were brought to low lying areas in the region (Aldrete 2006).

This combination of fill and rubble was brought in small portions to this areas by humble workers (Aldrete 2006). The fill was used in an attempt to raise the ground level. It was observed that the areas that appeared to be the driest for Rome were the ones that had the higher elevation (Aldrete 2006). With this noted, the idea to raise the ground level of the Forum Basin was born. This idea was very innovative for the time and is believed to have raised with an estimated 10,000 cubic meters of material (Aldrete 2006). This success, in conjunction to that of the drainage system, made it again easier to inhabit the area (Aldrete 2006).

Rome is a city of much wonder and greatness. It had such humble beings and required such fascinating innovation in order to thrive. When we think of technology or engineering today, many examples easily come to mind. Many of these examples that come to mind easily were probably originated, if not inspired by, the Roman Empire. It is unknown what would have come of Rome had they not been such frontiers men in the area of technology and engineering. Roman technological and engineering

They were able to turn a land difficult to inhabit, into an empire that was greater than any other of its time.

Roman technological and engineering

Aldrete, G.S. (2006) Floods of the Tiber in Ancient Rome.
library.ashford.edu/lib/ashford/docDetail.action?docID=10256339&p00=creation%20r ome
Dunstan, W.E. (2010) Ancient Rome. http://site.ebrary.com.proxy-
Mahdavi, F. (2012) World History: The Human Experience to 1500. http://content


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