Roman Roads

Essay by Fluffy_WhaleMiddle School, 6th gradeA+, February 2004

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Have you ever heard the saying, "All roads lead to Rome"? It's true. The Romans built thousands of miles of roads. Today most roads in Europe are paved over Roman roads. In this report I will cover how Roman roads were made, how the Romans traveled on roads, and finally how Roman roads helped expand Rome's culture and build a strong economy.

Roman roads were built with military purposes in mind, and were made by their peacetime army. Roman wagons couldn't turn easily so the roads had to be built as straight as possible. Some roads were 6 feet wide and some were 60 feet wide. They were very well built. All roads were built with whatever materials could be found locally. The Roman court poet under Emperor Domitian, Statius (A.D. 45), explains how roads were built and praises the via Domitian, a shortcut along the via Appia,

"The first task here is to trace furrows, ripping up the maze of paths, and then excavate a deep trench in the ground.

The second comprises filling the trench with other material to make a foundation for the road build-up. The ground must not give way nor must bedrock or base be at all unreliable when the paving stones are trodden. Next the road metalling is held in place on both sides by kerbing and numerous wedges. How numerous the squads work together! Some are cutting down woodland and clearing higher ground; others are using tools to smooth outcrops of rocks and plane great beams. There are those binding stones and consolidating the material with burnt lime and volcanic tufa. Others again are working hard to dry up hollows that keep filling with water or are diverting the smaller streams."

In my words this quote says that first...