Technolgy In Ancient Rome Essay

1501 words - 6 pages

Roman Technology The technological advances made by the Romans during their era of empire were astounding. Consider the fact that their empire existed in the time before and after the birth of Christ, thousands of years ago. Yet, the advances and discoveries that they made in the fields of science and engineering are still used today. Ideas that they came up with back then were for a long time considered to be theories. However, we now accept them as facts today. Their thought process was on par with ours today.. They are a civilization that has truly stood the test of time. What makes their achievements even more remarkable is the fact that after their civilization declined, roughly 476 A.D., until the Renaissance, things actually appeared to get worse. The European civilizations of the time did not improve upon or even use Roman discoveries. They made backwards steps. In fact, Roman technological advances in the areas of irrigation, transportation, and city-planning were far superior to anything seen before their time and were not seen again until the Industrial Revolution and Renaissance.There is no denying the fact the fact that Rome was a very large empire. So large in fact, that while there was enough water for everyone in the empire, there was no way of getting through the empire. See, most of Rome's water came from large lakes and rivers. However, there were few of these located near major cities. As a result, it would be impractical for this water to be manually transported. Roman engineers were faced with a dilemma: how to get the water to the cities more efficiently. Their solution was the aqueducts. However, contrary to popular public opinion, the Romans did not invent the aqueducts. Aqueducts were used in ancient Egypt, Persia, and India. However, their designs were somewhat flawed. What Rome did was revise their plans and improve upon the existing design.Most aqueducts were built through hillsides, allowing the water to flow from the hill to the plain below. This eliminated the tedious and painstaking task of having actual human beings carry the water down the hill. Most of the aqueducts were built to serve major cities. They were able to carry water as much as fifty-seven miles. Once the aqueducts reached the city, the water they carried was fanned out into a series of distribution tanks, which carried it through the city. These distribution tanks also had shut off valves in case it became unnecessary or impractical to ship water there. For example, during a water shortage the water supply for the baths was cut off. Also, any excess water was not stored. Instead it flushed out the sewers. This eliminated much odor from the cities, an odor that would return during the Middle Ages.1 Initially, the water traveled through wooden pipes. However, as time wore on, metal replaced wood as the material of choice. Also, in the beginning the water flowed by the force of gravity. However, about 200 A.D., Roman architects developed a...

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