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ROMAN ROADS “Roman roads were the most extensive road network until the 20 th century! There are 50,000 miles of Roman roads throughout the former Empire!”

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Presentation on theme: "ROMAN ROADS “Roman roads were the most extensive road network until the 20 th century! There are 50,000 miles of Roman roads throughout the former Empire!”"— Presentation transcript:

1 ROMAN ROADS “Roman roads were the most extensive road network until the 20 th century! There are 50,000 miles of Roman roads throughout the former Empire!”

2 ROMAN ROADS 50,000 miles of Roman roads:

3 ROMAN ROADS Purpose: –Military: Army could be sent anywhere in the empire and arrive within six weeks. –Trade: Romans shipped vast amounts of goods throughout the empire –Travel: a person could travel 35 miles a day on foot. Wealthy people could travel in litters: carried by 6-8 men. Small groups could travel in raedae, carriages. Messengers could use cisii, small chariots for speedy travel.

4 ROMAN ROADS Roman mail carriage

5 ROMAN ROADS I) HOW ROMANS BUILT ROADS 1)Planning: All Roman roads are laid out in straight lines. They are laid out in short straight lengths that follow the terrain. –A field engineer with a stakeman aligned the road with a groma and ran levels with chorobates. Plows were used to loosen the soils and mark the trench margins. Workmen dug trenches for the roadbed of 6- 9 feet.

6 ROMAN ROADS I) HOW ROMANS BUILT ROADS Groma: It was used as a sighting device for roads, aqueducts and bridges.The weights on the end of each point of the crossbar sights were to make sure that the groma was kept perpendicular to the ground.

7 ROMAN ROADS I) HOW ROMANS BUILT ROADS Chorobate: was used to ensure that construction was level. This tool was over 10 feet long. Water was poured into the long groove running down the middle of the top of the chorobate indicated when it was level.

8 ROMAN ROADS I) HOW ROMANS BUILT ROADS Hodometer: Used to measure distances. An elaborate gear assembly caused a rounded pebble to fall into a metal bowl after each mile. The cart also had special wheels: 4 ft in diameter and 12.5 ft in circumference. 400 revolutions made a Roman mile = 4800 ft.

9 ROMAN ROADS I) HOW ROMANS BUILT ROADS 1) First the two parallel trenches were built on either side of the planned road - The resulting earthworks, stone, etc., was dumped and built up in the space between the two ditches. This was called the agger. - Next, the diggers would make a shallow 8 to 10 foot wide depression down the length of the agger, and lined the edges with curb stones to hold the entire construction in place 2) After the trench was dug and leveled, it was tamped down for firmness. 3) A foundation of lime mortar or sand laid down to form a level base (pavimentum) 4) Next, stones of about 4-5 inches in diameter were laid down and cemented together with mortar (statument). This layer could be 10 in. to 2 feet deep.

10 ROMAN ROADS I) HOW ROMANS BUILT ROADS 5) The next course was concrete filled with shards of pottery or stone about 9-12 in. deep (rudus). –On top of this was a concrete made from gravel or sand and lime poured in layers with each layer compacted by a roller. This was 1 ft at the sides and 18 in. in the middle of the road. –This caused the road to be higher in the middle which created good drainage.

11 ROMAN ROADS I) HOW ROMANS BUILT ROADS 6) The top course (summum dorsum) was formed of polygonal blocks of stone that were 6 inches or more thick. These were fitted atop the still moist concrete. -these blocks could be removed and turned over when one side was worn. 7) Curb stones were placed on the sides of the road to hold paving stones and make a channel for water to run.

12 Roman Roads Road construction depicted on Trajan’s Column

13 ROMAN ROADS I) HOW ROMANS BUILT ROADS Cross-section of a Roman road:

14 ROMAN ROADS I) HOW ROMANS BUILT ROADS Cross-section of a Roman road:

15 ROMAN ROADS I) HOW ROMANS BUILT ROADS **All Roman roads employed local material in their construction. This is why there is no set pattern of construction. **There were ditches on each side of the road that allowed for drainage and quarry.

16 ROMAN ROADS Facts Most Roman roads were wide enough to allow two chariots to pass in either direction The 12 Tables (450 BC), specified that roads should be 8ft wide where straight and 16 ft were curved…however, roads varied from this standard. But, in general, the width of a road depended upon its use. –Widest Roads: decumanus maximus: could be 40 ft wide! –Side roads: could be 8 ft wide. –**In general: the wider the road, the greater its importance. The Lex Iulia Municipalis restricted commercial carts to night-time access to the city within the walls and within a mile outside the walls. **Lex Iulia Municipalis: laws introduced by Augustus in BC

17 ROMAN ROADS Facts -Country roads were usually about 20 ft wide in order to allow for passing. -In town the road widths varied: Pompeii: main roads: 4 meters (12 ft) wide; side roads and alleys: 2 meters (6 ft) wide. **Main roads needed to be wide enough to allow for the transport of troops and all their supplies. -Financing road building was a Roman government responsibility. Maintenance, however, was generally left to the province.

18 Roman Roads Roman carriage reconstruction, Römisch-Germanisches Museum, Cologne, Germany

19 ROMAN ROADS Facts Roadside inns existed in the Roman period. They were strategically placed about a days journey apart. But many of these inns were not safe: fights and murders occurred. When possible, travelers stayed with family or friends. The food was bad, bedding was infested with lice and other insects, etc. Traffic laws: there does not seem to have been a formal traffic code. Milestones were placed at various places along the road. They were tall stone circular stelae which gave the mileage to the nearest city, intermediate places and who paid for the road. –123 BC, Gaius Gracchus ordered roads be marked with stones indicating known distances.

20 ROMAN ROADS Miliarium Aureum - The Zero Milestone –The reference milestone was the Miliarium Aureum, or Golden Milestone. Erected by Caesar Augustus in 20 B.C, –This was the point from which all distances were measured. The milestone was once covered in gold (hence its name) and its remnants can be found in the Forum. –In the expression all roads lead to Rome, to be more accurate all roads lead to the Milarium Aureum.

21 ROMAN ROADS Famous Roads Appian Way: (Via Appia). Most famous of the Roman roads. Built in 312 BC by Appius Claudius Caecus. Connected Rome with Capua and later to Benevento, Taranto and Brindisi. Total length: 350 miles. Branch roads led to Naples, Bari and other ports.

22 ROMAN ROADS Famous Roads Via Appia:

23 ROMAN ROADS Famous Roads Flaminian Way: (Via Flaminia): One of the principal Roman roads. The most important northern route. From Rome to Cisalpine Gaul. Begun in 220 BC by Caius Flaminius. Ran north from Rome to Adriatic Sea. Other northern routes: Aurelian Way, Cassian Way

24 ROMAN ROADS Famous Roads Via Flaminia

25 ROMAN ROADS Famous Roads Via Flaminia

26 ROMAN ROADS Famous Roads Routes across Apennines to the Adriatic Sea: –Salarian Way, Valerian Way.

27 ROMAN ROADS Famous Roads Pompeii Roads:

28 ROMAN ROADS Famous Roads Pompeii Roads:

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30 Roman Roads The extent of Roman influence as a result of their roads


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