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What did the Romans invent?

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2015-05-18 11:54:45
2015-05-18 11:54:45

Popular stories:

  • Great Roman inventions included: Central heating, roads, military conscription, indoor plumbing, sanitation and elected government.
  • They also improved on previous weaponry and tactics, advancing the art of war to a whole new, efficient level.

Reality:

Roads have been around since people have needed to move from place to place. The Romans made very good paved roads, but not the first paved roads. If you visit Mycenae in Greece, today, you will see the remains of an ancient, paved road that predates Roman roads by about 1,000 years.

The Greeks and Persians had central heating before the Romans did. You can find indoor plumbing at Hattusa, circa 1300-1400 BCE or, once again, about 1,000 years before the Romans started using it.

There were elected governments in many Greek cities long before even the most mythical date given to the end of the Roman kings.

Sanitation (sewers, covered ditches, drains, etc.) can be found in many ancient cities from Egypt to Hattusa to Babylon.

The Egyptians were using conscripts in their army by at least the 18th Dynasty which is, perhaps, about 1,500 years before the Romans used them.

While the Romans developed an outstanding military system and did, in fact, advance the art of war in some ways, there were other outstanding military systems developed before the Roman one, including Alexander the Great's army and the chariots of the Late Bronze Age.

Determining which things were absolutely Roman inventions and which things they borrowed and, perhaps, improved is difficult and requires a great deal of research, but here are some things that MAY be Roman inventions (please note that this list is not inclusive of ALL potential Roman inventions):

  • Concrete
  • Barrel vaults
  • Architectural domes
  • Special gangplanks used to secure and board ships during naval battles
  • Articulated armored plates
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