Even the most isolated parts of the Roman world could expect to be swiftly supplied or reinforced in the event of an emergency, lessening the need for large and costly garrison units at frontier outposts. Since Roman roads were designed with speed of travel in mind, they often followed a remarkably straight trail across the countryside. The resulting roads often shot straight up steep hills, and small bridges and tunnels were built to ensure the path could traverse rivers or pass right through mountains.
Even in instances where the road was forced to divert from its course, the Romans typically opted for sharp turns and switchbacks over sweeping curves to preserve their arrow-straight design. Roman builders used whatever materials were at hand to construct their roads, but their design always employed multiple layers for durability and flatness.
Crews began by digging shallow, three-foot trenches and erecting small retaining walls along either side of the proposed route.
The bottom section of the road was usually made of leveled earth and mortar or sand topped with small stones. This was followed by foundation layers of crushed rocks or gravel cemented with lime mortar. Finally, the surface layer was constructed using neatly arranged blocks made from gravel, pebbles, iron ore or hardened volcanic lava. Much like the road signs on modern interstates and freeways, these stone pillars gave the distance to the nearest town in Roman miles and instructed the traveler on the best places to stop. They also provided information on when the road was built, who constructed it and who last repaired it.
The Apostle Paul traveled roads like this.
The Book of Romans When we decided to include the Romans Road of Scripture on our website, we learned that apparently there are many different versions of what these Scriptures are! This is probably because in regard to the book of Romans , the popular saying truly fits: "It's all good! We have therefore come up with our own composite version, based on what seems to be the generally accepted Scriptures in most cases. We also felt that it only made sense to put the Scriptures in the order in which they are found in the Bible many versions alter this order slightly.
And again, it seemed good to us that the verse sections should number seven in total different versions have different numbers of verses , as this is the Biblical number for "completeness".
Romans Road of Scripture. Notes : The figure shows the conditional residual binned scatter plot of the relationship between nightlight intensity in logs in and Roman road density in logs within the European and MENA regions of the Roman Empire in CE. The binned scatter plots group the x-axis variable into equal-sized bins, compute the mean of the x-axis and y-axis variables within each bin, and show a scatterplot of these data points. In some ways, the emergence of the Roman road network is almost a natural experiment — in light of the military purpose of the roads, the preferred straightness of their construction, and their construction in newly conquered and often undeveloped regions.
This type of public good seems to have had a persistent influence on subsequent public good allocations and comparative development. At the same time, the abandonment of the wheel shock in MENA appears to have been powerful enough to cause that degree of persistence to break down. Overall, our analysis suggests that public good provision is a powerful channel through which persistence in comparative development comes about.
Lund University, Lund. Search form. On Roman roads and the sources of persistence and non-persistence in development Carl-Johan Dalgaard, Nicolai Kaarsen, Ola Olsson, Pablo Selaya 10 April Although spatial differences in economic development tend to be highly persistent over time, this is not always the case.
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Five Ancient Roman Roads That Still Exist Today
The data Throughout the analysis, our unit of observation is a pixel of 1x1 degrees of latitude by longitude. Figure 1 Major roads of the Roman Empire Notes : The map shows major Roman roads red lines within the boundaries of the Roman Empire yellow lines in CE, and nightlights intensity in in the background white color. Empirical approach and baseline findings A key challenge in identifying the effects of ancient infrastructure is filtering out the effect of underlying geographic factors that may have influenced both Roman road density and modern-day outcomes.
Figure 2 Modern and Roman road density Notes : The figure shows the conditional residual binned scatter plot of the relationship between Modern road density in logs and Roman road density in logs within the Roman Empire in CE. Persistence and non-persistence in roads and comparative development Despite our best efforts, our baseline findings may still suffer from omitted variable bias. Figure 3 Nightlight intensity and Roman road density Notes : The figure shows the conditional residual binned scatter plot of the relationship between nightlight intensity in logs in and Roman road density in logs within the European and MENA regions of the Roman Empire in CE.
Conclusion In some ways, the emergence of the Roman road network is almost a natural experiment — in light of the military purpose of the roads, the preferred straightness of their construction, and their construction in newly conquered and often undeveloped regions. Carl-Johan Dalgaard.
Professor, Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen. Nicolai Kaarsen.
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