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Roman roads Part 3

Of course, the routing and the creation of a framework for pavement engineering problems is not exhaustive. The construction of roads was in constant struggle with the terrain. Sometimes the road is raised on embankment, sometimes, on the contrary, had to cut through passages in the rocks. Rivers threw bridges, and in the mountains, if you had the opportunity, paving the tunnels.

It was especially difficult when crossing wetlands. Here come up with all sorts of ingenious solutions like planted under the road to the wooden designs mounted on wooden stilts. In particular, the Appian road passed through swamp lowland, separated from the sea by sand dunes and consists of many small ponds and swamps, which are abundant bred malarial mosquitoes.

For about 30 km through the swamp paved embankment, which is constantly eroded, and the road had to be repaired. In the middle of the II century ad this section of the road even had to dig parallel to the road drainage channel, and many Romans chose to cross the swamp water on ships.

High road

Roman roads often passed through uninhabited areas, so that comfortable and relatively safe travel on them required additional facilities. Every 10-15 km along the roads were arranged mutations station to change horses, or a mail station. At a distance of daily transition 25-50 km from each other were, Inns with taverns, bedrooms and even a kind of "service stations" where for a fee you can repair the wagon, feed the horses and, if necessary, provide them with veterinary care.

Already in Imperial Rome there was the postal service, which, of course, use the road network. Changing horses at post stations, the postman was able to deliver the message for 70-80 km from the destination, and even further. For the European middle Ages this speed would have seemed fantastic!

A separate form of monumental art of the ancient Romans were mileposts, thanks to which traveling on the roads could easily determine which path has already passed and how much is left. And suppose that in fact the posts were not established every mile, the quantity is more than compensated by the grandeur. Each column is a cylindrical column with a height of from one half to four meters, placed on cubic base.

Weighed this giant of an average of about two tons. In addition to the numbers indicating the distance to the nearest settlement, it is possible to read about who and when built the road and erected on it a stone. In the reign of Augustus Octavian in 20 BC, the Roman forum was called "Golden" mile stone Empire. He became a sort of zero mark (in fact the Romans did not know the numbers "0"), the most symbolic point in Rome, to which, as the famous saying goes, "lead all the way".

Between the living and the dead

Helping to quickly transfer troops in the breakaway province, to deliver mail and to trade, Roman roads were occupied a special place in the attitude of the people of the great Mediterranean Empire. In Rome as in other large cities, the dead were forbidden to be buried within the city limits, but because the cemetery was arranged in the surrounding area, along the roads.

Entering the city or leaving it, Roman would cross the border between worlds, between the momentary and vain, on the one hand, and the eternal, immutable, covered with legends. Funeral monuments and mausoleums along the roads reminded about the glorious deeds of their ancestors and demonstrated the vanity of noble birth. In demonstration and didactic purposes of the road sometimes used by the government.

In the year 73 BC in Italy, a rebellion under the leadership of Spartacus Gladiator of Capua, the city, which led from Rome his famous "via" Appius Claudius CEK. Two years later, the army finally managed to defeat the rebels. Captured slaves were sentenced to death and crucified 6000 on crosses, displayed along the Appian way.

Difficult to say for sure, how did the inhabitants of the "barbarian" outskirts of the Empire to the Roman benefaction the cobbled paths, like a sword lands of the conquered peoples and not be considered the traditional boundaries of tribes. Yes, the Roman roads carried with them the convenience of movement, facilitated Commerce, but it also came tax collectors, and in case of disobedience of soldiers. However, it used to be different.

In 61 ad Boudicca (Boadicea), the widow of the leader of the brythonic tribe called the Iceni, revolted against Roman rule in Britain. The rebels managed to clean away the foreign troops and capture the city Camulodunum (Colchester), Londinium (London) and Verulanium (St Albans). Judging by this sequence, the host of Boudicca moved on the roads built by the Romans, and on the last leg between Londinium and Verulanium rebels "saddled" the famous Watling street - the route of the Roman period, which are widely used in updated form to this day.

And it was only the "first call". The road network of the Roman Empire for a long time helped to keep in subjection a huge part of the world. When powers began to weaken, a great creation of the Romans turned against their creators. Now the barbarian hordes took advantage of the roads to quickly get to the treasure decrepit state.

After the final fall of the Western Empire in the V century BC stone road, like many other achievements of Antiquity, was virtually abandoned and fell into disrepair. Road construction resumed in Europe only about 800 years later.