The Romans: what inventions came from this time?

The Romans were an inventive people who are partly responsible for the foundation of the civilization in which we now live. A high number of Roman inventions are still being used or applied to this day. Among other things, the Romans are responsible for building the first roads, aqueducts and sewers. The many facilities that were made available to us at this time made daily life more pleasant during this time. Especially the people of a rich family had the opportunity, for example, to take a bath.

The Romans

In what period did the Romans live?

The Roman Empire existed from around 753 BC to 476 AD. The Eastern Roman Empire continued to exist at the end of this period. This empire existed until 1453 and consisted of Byzantines (the inhabitants). Just like the Romans of the Western Roman Empire, they were highly developed with regard to knowledge and science. The Romans had made a lot of inventions over the centuries. These Roman inventions proved to be the foundation for contemporary society.


The Romans were responsible for the construction of the first paved roads. The 'road network' provided an advantage for the transport of goods and the movement of people such as army units. The Roman soldiers were able to go much further by the roads that were built, so that the empire could be better controlled and protected. The roads were also used by traders who sold their products. However, the roads that the Romans had built in the Netherlands were mainly unpaved and therefore less efficient than the rest of the empire. Remnants of these unpaved roads are sometimes found in the form of discolored grains of sand.

The transportation of mail

Thanks to the arrival of roads and the first postal services, mail could be transported faster. These posts were staffed by different people so that people could alternate. This ensured that the mail finally arrived at its destination faster.
A Roman bridge in Portugal / Source: Carole Raddato, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-2.0)


Bridges were necessary to cross rivers. A wooden mold was used to get the stones in an arc. The stones were placed on this mold. The last stone is called the so-called 'keystone'. This stone ensured that all stones in the arch remained in place. Because these bridges were so strong, some bridges are still in use today.

The aqueduct

The aqueduct is a construction for moving water. This construction can be huge (depending on the environment). The water was transported to the cities for, among other things, fountains and other water supplies.
A schematic representation of an aqueduct with arcades / Source: Public domain, Wikimedia Commons (PD)
So-called 'arcades' were used to guide the aqueduct through a valley. These are multiple arches in the construction that ensure that the water can run horizontally. These arches can also be seen as several tunnels that are positioned next to each other. Some structures even have multiple floors with several arcades positioned one above the other. This was often necessary when the water had to be drained over a high height.

The bath

Luxury homes already had a bath in the third century BC. This was a luxury that only the richer Romans had at their disposal. The huge baths received their water supply with the help of aqueducts.

Public bathhouses

A large communal bath is also called 'thermal baths'. The Latin name for a bathhouse is 'thermae'. The water used to be heated by means of an oven. The warm air that was created as a result was efficiently passed under the floor, so that as little heat as possible was lost. In the second century AD, emperor Hadrian proclaimed a ban on mixed bathing. From now on men and women were officially divorced.

The sewer

This invention was largely due to chance. The water in the aqueducts was no longer able to dispose of the waste during dry periods, causing a large amount of odors during this period. These areas were increasingly covered to prevent the smell from spreading. As a result, the first sewer system eventually emerged over time.

Video: CRAZIEST inventions of the Roman Army!! (February 2020).

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