Roman roads

A Roman street in Pompeii
The Roman empire in the time of Hadrian (ruled 117–138), showing the network of main Roman roads.

Roman roads (Latin: viae Romanae [ˈwiae̯ roːˈmaːnae̯]; singular: via Romana [ˈwia roːˈmaːna]; meaning "Roman way") were physical infrastructure vital to the maintenance and development of the Roman state, and were built from about 300 BC through the expansion and consolidation of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire.[1] They provided efficient means for the overland movement of armies, officials, civilians, inland carriage of official communications, and trade goods.[2] Roman roads were of several kinds, ranging from small local roads to broad, long-distance highways built to connect cities, major towns and military bases. These major roads were often stone-paved and metaled, cambered for drainage, and were flanked by footpaths, bridleways and drainage ditches. They were laid along accurately surveyed courses, and some were cut through hills, or conducted over rivers and ravines on bridgework. Sections could be supported over marshy ground on rafted or piled foundations.[3][4]

At the peak of Rome's development, no fewer than 29 great military highways radiated from the capital, and the late Empire's 113 provinces were interconnected by 372 great roads.[3][5] The whole comprised more than 400,000 kilometres (250,000 miles) of roads, of which over 80,500 kilometres (50,000 mi) were stone-paved.[6][7] In Gaul alone, no less than 21,000 kilometres (13,000 mi) of roadways are said to have been improved, and in Britain at least 4,000 kilometres (2,500 mi).[3] The courses (and sometimes the surfaces) of many Roman roads survived for millennia; some are overlaid by modern roads.

  1. ^ Forbes, Robert James (1993). Studies in ancient technology, Volume 2. Brill. p. 146. ISBN 978-90-04-00622-5.
  2. ^ Kaszynski, William. The American Highway: The History and Culture of Roads in the United States. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2000. Page 9
  3. ^ a b c Bailey, L. H., and Wilhelm Miller. Cyclopedia of American Horticulture, Comprising Suggestions for Cultivation of Horticultural Plants, Descriptions of the Species of Fruits, Vegetables, Flowers, and Ornamental Plants Sold in the United States and Canada, Together with Geographical and Biographical Sketches. New York [etc.]: The Macmillan Co, 1900. Page 320.
  4. ^ Corbishley, Mike: "The Roman World", page 50. Warwick Press, 1986.
  5. ^ Duducu, Jem (2015). The Romans in 100 Facts. GL5 4EP UK: Amberley Publishing. ISBN 9781445649702.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  6. ^ Gabriel, Richard A. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Westport, Conn: Praeger, 2002. Page 9.
  7. ^ Michael Grant, History of Rome (New York: Charles Scribner, 1978), 264.