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Roman roads Part 1

on Sep 8, 2017

It is hard to believe, but even in the twilight of antiquity, more than a thousand years ago, it was possible to travel from Rome to Athens or from Spain to Egypt, almost all the time remaining on the highway with a firm covering. For seven centuries the Romans have entangled the entire Mediterranean world the territories of the three parts of the world high quality road network with a total length of two of the earth's equator.

Since the trail spontaneously trodden by people and livestock, was replaced in the Roman era specially paved paths, the technology of road construction was changed several times. Nevertheless, the current roads are formed in multiple layers.

From trail to asphalt In the XVII century, when road construction has intensified, the roads were made of compacted gravel on a Foundation of large blocks. The Creator of this technology was the Frenchman Pierre Trezege (1716-1796) Scotsman John (1756-1836) found a way to reduce the thickness of the base, as came to the conclusion that a dry compacted soil itself stands up well to the weight of the pavement.

Located in the South East of Rome's historic little Church of Santa Maria in Palmis with understated classical facade of the seventeenth century looks, of course, not so spectacular as the Grand monuments of the Eternal city like the Colosseum or St. Peter's Cathedral. However, the deliberate modesty of the temple underlines the special atmosphere of the place associated with one of the most beautiful and dramatic legends of the times of early Christianity.

As described in the new Testament Apocrypha the "acts of Peter", it was here, on the Old Appian way, fleeing from pagan persecution, the Apostle Peter met the procession in Rome of Christ. Domine, quo vadis? (Lord, whither guest thou?) with surprise and fright asked the Apostle a long time crucified and risen master. Eo Romam iterum crucifigi (I go to Rome, to be crucified again), answered the Christ. Ashamed of his cowardice, Peter returned to the city where he was martyred.

The gift of a blind censor

By the time when, according to legend, there was this legendary meeting (mid first century BC), the Appian way had existed for almost four centuries. The Romans knew her as tor "Queen of roads" because the via Appia starts in the history of paved paths, connecting the cities of Italy and the entire Mediterranean inhabited world.

The name of the road gave an outstanding Roman statesman Appius Claudius CEK ("Blind" lat. Caecus). At the end of IV century BC Rome, who were at the origins of his power, was led with varying degrees of success the so called Samnite wars in the Campaign (historic region with the center in Naples).

The better to link the newly acquired territory with the mother country and to facilitate rapid transfer of troops in Peninsula, in 312 BC Appius Claudius, who was then high office of censor, was ordered to build a road from Rome to Capua, the Etruscan city, conquered a quarter of a century earlier. The path length was 212 km, however, the construction was completed during the year. Largely due to the way the Second war the Romans won.

It is easy to notice, like the Internet or the GPS system, the Roman roads were initially developed for military applications, but later opened up unprecedented opportunities for the development of civil economy and society as a whole. In the next century, the Major roads extended to the southern Italian ports of Brundisium (Brindisi) and Tarent (Taranto), and she became a part of the trade route that connected Rome with Greece and Asia Minor.

Threat straightness

Having won the first, the entire Apennine Peninsula, and then Western Europe to the Rhine, the Balkans, Greece, Malaya and West Asia and North Africa, the Roman state (first a Republic, and from the I century BC Empire) systematically develop the road network in every newly acquired area of the state. Since, as already mentioned, the road was primarily a military structure, they were laid out and built military engineers and soldiers of the Roman legions. Sometimes brought slaves and civilian local population.