The Roman Empire was formed in the 8th century BCE as a humble city. Aristocratic kings originally ruled Rome, and by the 6th century BCE, it turned into a republic. Rome started to expand until it gained control over the whole Italian Peninsula. However, Roman government could be referred to as an aristocracy due to the fact that only influential families who had original connections could rule. These families were referred to as patricians, while plebeians were the rest of the people. The Ancient Rome achieved remarkable technological accomplishments, but some of these advancements were abandoned during the Middle Ages. However, some of them resurfaced during the 19th and 20th centuries. Insulated glazing is an example of an invention which was lost until its reinvention in 1930s. Other practical Roman innovations included an advancement of original Greek designs. These technological advancements were split into various categories according to craft. Artisans would keep these technologies in secret in order to protect their trade. A large part of the Roman inventions included military and civil engineering. These findings enabled the construction of many auditoria, bridges, roads and baths among others. The Roman architecture, which has also borrowed from Greek traditions, is still very famous and is termed as “Classical architecture”. Greek and Roman architecture had some differences, even though Rome used many of the formulaic designs of Greece.
This paper seeks to address Roman technological inventions by looking at their significance. Above all, the Romans paved a way for much of the technology that humans enjoy today. As a matter of fact, they originally invented concrete which is used in construction. Although adjustments and developments have been made from the time of the ancient Rome to date, they still take the glory for inventing this building material. Most of the comforts people enjoy today as a result of technology have been brought about by the Romans. For example, the Romans were concerned with hygiene and thus they invented public baths referred to as thermae, which they were widely known for. They later invented flush toilets and indoor plumbing, which were later subjected to more advancement for additional comfort of modern people. For this reason, it can be argued that the Roman inventions forms a basis for today’s advanced lifestyle.
Rome was a powerful city for a long time until its collapse in the 5th century AD. Its prosperity can be attributed partly to its leadership as well as technological advancements it came up with, which made it the most envied and revered states of its time. Although Rome collapsed, some of its inventions still stand erect a thousand years later indicating how strong they were. Good examples include the roads and landmarks such as the Colosseum made by the Romans. The impacts of the Roman inventions were felt in various areas, such as agriculture, where they constructed several aqueducts to help supply the cities and industrial sites with water.
Types of Ancient Roman Inventions and Technology
The Romans introduced large and durable bridges that were later emulated by various cities around the world. This was after the invention of stone arch in the Northern Italy between the 4th and 3rd century AD. These bridges were built between the 1st and 2nd century AD. They were made of both stone and concrete and their structures were formed on the basis of arches. The arches made by the Romans had a semicircular shape, even though others were segmental as well. Around 931 ancient Roman bridges, most of which were made of stone, spread across Europe. These bridges had such sturdy construction that they are still standing to date. Most of these bridges were over five meters, wide which gave the impression that they were reasonably large. The majority of these bridges, especially the ones meant to carry water, were sloped to allow the movement of water. The Romans used alternating stonework for their bridges. For example, one layer of the bridge would be made of stones laid lengthwise and the following layer would have its stones facing outwards. Metal bars and dovetail joints were used to link these stones. Looking at this invention, Romans can be credited to have laid the foundation for the bridges built today, even though these exact designs may not be applicable for larger bridges.
Another very important inventions that were developed by Romans were concrete and hydraulic concrete. Although many materials and ratios were tried out to make the perfect concrete for construction, the right mixture had been achieved by 200 BC. The invention of concrete opened doors for a lot of construction in the Roman Empire: some of the monuments can still be seen today meaning they have lasted for about two thousand years. There were two main ingredients used to produce concrete, which were lime and a special kind of volcanic sand that was mined near the Puteoli city. This resulted into an effective building material suitable for construction of structural and underwater projects. Examples of the great structures built using this concrete were the dome of the Parthenon and the harbor of Caesarea. The former was the biggest of its kind until the 19th century the latter was considered quite a masterpiece of engineers and architects. The Roman concrete also had amazing resistance to earthquakes. The mixture used to produce concrete was not consistent, which caused the density to vary. Scientists argue that this made such structures disrupt the seismic waves. The Colosseum stood against many disasters, but was damaged in 847 AD and later on in 1231 AD by strong earthquakes. Today, concrete is still a major material used in construction. However, some of the materials used have changed and many admixtures have been introduced. The consistence has increased and the density is rather uniform.
Medical Roman technology greatly advanced alongside other fields to an extent that a famous Roman orator named Cicero declared that there was no other area in which men held nearly as much power as gods than in medicine. Initially, the Romans did not understand diseases and their causes and so they employed various technologies to help deal with them. The Roman doctors came up with tools that even modern surgeons understand. The examples include bone drills, surgical saws, scalpels and forceps from 200 BC. The doctors ensured that they disinfected their instruments before performing surgery, even though they did not fully understand what germs were or how one would get them from non-disinfected surgical tools. In addition, there were several herbs and chemical compounds developed by the Roman doctors in order to accomplish cleaner medical procedures and make their patients as comfortable as possible. Garlic, sage and willow were some of the medicinal herbs used by the Roman doctors. They also gave their patients painkillers and used vinegar to clean wounds. Some of the instruments mentioned above are still used today by doctors and surgeons, even though many have been modified. It all goes back to the Romans, since they came up with the original idea which had been advanced with time.
The Romans developed aqueducts to help with the transportation of water to the various parts of the empire during the 1st century BC. It was possible to transport water for many miles from both natural and artificial reservoirs right into the cities. It was possible due to the fact that the aqueducts were built to have a small downward slope. The water had many applications in the cities, such as in baths, public fountains, and even sewers. Aqueducts played a critical role in the Roman urban life and helped to support the dense populations of the Roman cities. When the Roman Empire collapsed, many of the aqueducts were not used or maintained and became damaged. However, there are some aqueducts that have been well-preserved. They can be found in former Roman cities. Segovia, Caesarea and Istanbul are some of the cities in which these aqueducts are still present today and usually receive modern visitors interested in having a glimpse of what the Roman glory looked like. Although today people use pipes to transport water from their source to various cities and towns and even to their taps in houses, industries and other areas, the original idea came from the Romans.
The ancient Romans made technological inventions in various areas of life, which made the empire stand and survive for the longest time in history. Although thousands of years have passed from those times, many of their technological inventions have undergone further refinement in order to obtain the ones used today. The Romans are credited to have pioneered many aspects of modern lifestyle. They most likely enjoyed the standards of living which were close to what is enjoyed today. Some of inventions that are associated with Romans actually have begun with Greek and Roman discoveries and have been refined over time for practicality. Some of the ancient Roman inventions can be seen in different aspects of life, such as medicine, civil engineering, military engineering among others. In addition, other inventions still stand in various Roman cities and attract thousands of tourists who are fascinated by incredible technological inventions made around 2000 years ago.