Roman siege engines
Roman siege engines were, for the most part, adapted from Hellenistic siege technology. Small efforts were made to develop the technology. Up to the first century BC, the Romans utilized siege weapons only as required and relied for the most part on ladders and rams to assault a fortified town. Ballistae were employed, but held no permanent place within a legion's roster, until in the republic, were used sparingly. Julius Caesar took great interest in the integration of advanced siege engines, organizing their use for optimal battlefield efficiency. To facilitate this organization and the army’s self-sufficiency, an engineering corps was developed. An officer of engineers, or praefectus fabrum, is referenced in armies of the late republic, but this post is not verifiable in all accounts and may have been a military advisor on the personal staff of a commanding officer. There were legion architects who were responsible for the construction of war machines who would assure that all artillery constructions in the field were level.
Ensuring that constructions were level was the job of the libratores, who would launch missiles and other projectiles during battle. The engineering corps was in charge of massive production prefabricating artillery and siege equipment to facilitate its transportation. Roman artillery was efficient at that time, during a siege the Romans would attack the weakest area of their enemy's defenses and attempt to breach the walls at that point. To support this effort, artillery fire would commence, with three main objectives: to cause damage to defenses, casualties among the opposing army, loss of enemy morale, it would provide cover fire for troops building siege ramps or those in siege towers. There were machines called tormenta, which would launch projectiles such as javelins, rocks, or beams; these devices were on wheeled platforms to follow the line’s advance. All were "predicated on a principle of physics: a lever was inserted into a skein of twisted horsehair to increase torsion, when the arm was released, a considerable amount of energy was thus freed".
It was stated that sinew, instead of twisted hair, provided a better “spring.” These weapons were high-maintenance devices and vulnerable to having their leather, sinew, or hemp skeins affected by wet or damp, which would cause them to slacken and lose tension, rendering the engine useless. It is somewhat difficult to define and describe Roman artillery, as names are confused and historians still do not agree on all definitions. Best known are the ballista, the onager, the scorpio. After the absorption of the ancient Greek city states into the Roman Republic in 146 BC, some advanced Greek technologies began to spread across many areas of Roman influence; this included the hugely advantageous military advances the Greeks had made, as well as all the scientific, mathematical and artistic developments. The Romans'inherited' the torsion powered ballistae which had by now spread to several cities around the Mediterranean, all of which became Roman spoils of war in time, including one from Pergamum, depicted among a pile of'trophy' weapons in relief on a balustrade.
The torsion ballista, developed by Alexander, was a far more complicated weapon than its predecessor, the Romans developed it further. Vitruvius, in his De Architectura book X, describes the tuning of ballistae; every century in the Roman army had a ballista by the 1st century AD. It was the command of the chief of the ballistae, under whom were the artillery experts, or doctores ballistarum and the artillerymen, or ballistarii. Ballistae were heavy missile weapons, they resembled large crossbows, rather than catapults. They were powered by two horizontal like arms, which were inserted into two vertical and wound "skein" springs contained in a rectangular frame structure making up the head or principal part of the weapon; the arms were drawn rearward with a winch lever to further twist the skeins and thus gain the torsion power to cast a projectile. It has been said that the whirring sound of a ballista-fired stone struck fear and dread into the hearts of those inside the walls of besieged cities.
The stones chosen to be used in the ballista had to be a particular sort. According to Vegetius, river stones were best, since they are round and dense. Ballista stones found at the site of Masada were chiseled to make them as round as possible; the early Roman ballistae were made of wood, held together with iron plates around the frames and iron nails in the stand. The main stand had a slider on the top, into which were loaded the bolts or stone'shot'. Attached to this, at the back, was a pair of winches and a claw, used to ratchet the bowstring back to the armed firing position. A slider passed through the field frames of the weapon, in which were located the torsion springs, which were twisted around the bow arms, which in turn were attached to the bowstring. Drawing the bowstring back with the winches twisted the taut springs, storing the energy to fire the projectiles; the ballista was a accurate weapon, but some design aspects meant it could compromise its accuracy for range. The lightweight bolts could not gain the high momentum of the stones over the same distance as those th
Roman military engineering
The military engineering of Ancient Rome's armed forces was of a scale and frequency far beyond that of any of its contemporaries'. Indeed, military engineering was in many ways institutionally endemic in Roman military culture, as demonstrated by the fact that each Roman legionary had as part of his equipment a shovel, alongside his gladius and pila. Fabri were workers, craftsmen or artisans in Roman society and descriptions of early Roman army structure attributed to king Servius Tullius describe there being two centuriae of fabri under an officer, the praefectus fabrum. Roman military engineering took both routine and extraordinary forms, the former a proactive part of standard military procedure, the latter of an extraordinary or reactionary nature; each Roman legion had a military legionary fort as its permanent base. However, when on the march in enemy territory, the legion would, after a day's marching, construct a fortified camp or castra, requiring as raw materials only earth and timber.
Camp construction was the responsibility of special engineering units to which specialists of many types belonged, officered by architecti, from a class of troops known as immunes since they were excused from or immune from, regular duties. These engineers would requisition manual labor from the soldiers at large as required. A legion could throw up a camp under enemy attack in as little as a few hours. Judging from the names, they used a repertory of camp plans from a set textbook, selecting the one appropriate to the length of time a legion would spend in it: tertia castra, quarta castra: "a camp of three days", "four days", etc; the engineers built bridges from both timber and stone depending on required permanence, time available etc. Some Roman stone bridges survive to this day. Stone bridges were made possible by the innovative use of the keystone to allow an arch construction. One of the most notable examples of military bridge-building in the Roman Empire was Julius Caesar's Bridge over the Rhine River.
This bridge was completed in only ten days and is conservatively estimated to have been more than 100 m long. The construction was deliberately over-engineered for Caesar's stated purpose of impressing the Germanic tribes, who had little experience of engineering, to emphasise that Rome could travel wherever she wished. Caesar was able to cross over the completed bridge and explore the area uncontested, before crossing back over and dismantling the bridge. Caesar relates in his War in Gaul that he "sent messengers to the Sugambri to demand the surrender of those who had made war on me and on Gaul, they replied that the Rhine was the limit of Roman power"; the bridge was intended to show otherwise. Although most Roman siege engines were adaptations from earlier Greek designs, the Romans were adept at engineering them swiftly and efficiently, as well as innovating variations such as the repeating ballista; the 1st century BC army engineer Vitruvius describes in detail many of the Roman siege machines in his manuscript De Architectura.
When invading enemy territories, the Roman army would construct roads as they went, to allow swift reinforcement and resupply, as well as a path for easy retreat if necessary. Roman road-making skills are such. Michael Grant credits the Roman building of the Via Appia with winning them the Second Samnite War; the Roman army took part in building projects for civilian use. There were sound reasons for the use of the army in building projects: that if they weren't directly engaged in military campaigns, the legions were unproductive, costing the Roman state large sums of money, but the involvement of the soldiers in building works, kept them not only well accustomed to hard physical labour, but kept them busy, since it was the held belief that busy armies weren't plotting to mutiny, whereas idle armies were. Of both military and civilian use was the construction of roads within the boundaries of the Empire, in which the army was involved, but so too were soldiers put to use in the construction of town walls, the digging of shipping canals, the drainage of land, harbours in the cultivation of vineyards.
In some rare cases soldiers were used in mining work. They were skilled in conducting mining operations such as building the many aqueducts needed for prospecting for metal veins, in methods like hydraulic mining, the building of reservoirs to hold the water at the minehead, it is that they were capable of building and operating mine equipment such as water mills, stamp mills and dewatering machines. It is that they were involved in exploiting gold resources such as those at Dolaucothi in south west Wales, it was developed soon after conquest of the region under Frontinus, the local auxiliary troop came from north-west Spain, a country where gold mining developed on a large scale in the early part of the first century AD. The knowledge and experience learned through such routine engineering lent itself to any extraordinary engineering projects required by the army, it is here that the scale of Roman military engineering exceeded that of any of its contemporaries in both imagination and scope.
One of the most famous of such extraordinary constructions was the circumvallation of the entire city of Alesia and its Celtic leader Vercingetorix, within a massive length of double-wall – one inward-facing to prevent escape or offensive sallies from the city, one outward-facing to prevent attack by Celtic reinforcements. This wall is estimated to have been over 20 km long. A second example would be the massive ramp built using thousands of ton
Campaign history of the Roman military
From its origin as a city-state on the peninsula of Italy in the 8th century BC, to its rise as an empire covering much of Southern Europe, Western Europe, the Middle East and North Africa to its fall in the 5th century AD, the political history of Ancient Rome was entwined with its military history. The core of the campaign history of the Roman military is an aggregate of different accounts of the Roman military's land battles, from its initial defense against and subsequent conquest of the city's hilltop neighbors on the Italian peninsula, to the ultimate struggle of the Western Roman Empire for its existence against invading Huns and Germanic tribes; these accounts were written by various authors after the history of the Empire. Following the First Punic War, naval battles were less significant than land battles to the military history of Rome due to its encompassment of lands of the periphery and its unchallenged dominance of the Mediterranean Sea; the Roman army battled first against its tribal neighbours and Etruscan towns within Italy, came to dominate the Mediterranean and at its height the provinces of Britannia and Asia Minor.
As with most ancient civilizations, Rome's military served the triple purpose of securing its borders, exploiting peripheral areas through measures such as imposing tribute on conquered peoples, maintaining internal order. From the outset, Rome's military typified this pattern, the majority of Rome's campaigns were characterised by one of two types; the first is the territorial expansionist campaign begun as a counter-offensive, in which each victory brought subjugation of large areas of territory and allowed Rome to grow from a small town to a population of 55 million in the early empire when expansion was halted. The second is the civil war. Roman armies were not invincible, despite their formidable reputation and host of victories, Romans "produced their share of incompetents" who led Roman armies into catastrophic defeats, it was the fate of the greatest of Rome's enemies, such as Pyrrhus and Hannibal, to win the battle but lose the war. The history of Rome's campaigning is, if nothing else, a history of obstinate persistence overcoming appalling losses.
Knowledge of Roman history stands apart from other civilizations in the ancient world. Its chronicles and otherwise, document the city's foundation to its eventual demise. Although some histories have been lost, such as Trajan's account of the Dacian Wars, others, such as Rome's earliest histories, are at least semi-apocryphal, the extant histories of Rome's military history are extensive. Rome's earliest history, from the time of its founding as a small tribal village, to the downfall of its kings, is the least well preserved. Although the early Romans were literate to some degree, this void may be due to the lack of will to record their history at that time, or such histories as they did record were lost. Although the Roman historian Livy lists a series of seven kings of early Rome in his work Ab urbe condita, from its establishment through its earliest years, the first four kings may be apocryphal. A number of points of view have been proposed. Grant and others argue that prior to the establishment of the Etruscan kingdom of Rome under the traditional fifth king, Tarquinius Priscus, Rome would have been led by a religious leader of some sort.
Little is known of Rome's military history from this era, what history has come down to us is more of a legendary than of factual nature. Traditionally, after founding the city, fortified the Palatine Hill, shortly thereafter, Rome was "equal to any of the surrounding cities in her prowess in war"; the first of the campaigns fought by the Romans in this legendary account are the wars with various Latin cities and the Sabines. According to Livy, the Latin village of Caenina responded to the event of the abduction of the Sabine women by invading Roman territory, but were routed and their village captured; the Latins of Antemnae and those of Crustumerium were defeated next in a similar fashion. The remaining main body of the Sabines attacked Rome and captured the citadel, but were convinced to conclude a treaty with the Romans under which the Sabines became Roman citizens. There was a further war in the 8th century BC against Veii. In the 7th century BC there was a war with Alba Longa, a second war with Fidenae and Veii and a second Sabine War.
Ancus Marcius led Rome to victory against the Latins and, according to the Fasti Triumphales, over the Veientes and Sabines also. Lucius Tarquinius Priscus' first war was waged against the Latins. Tarquinius took great booty from there back to Rome. According to the Fasti Triumphales, the war occurred prior to 588 BC, his military ability was tested by an attack from the Sabines. Tarquinius doubled the numbers of equites to help the war effort, defeat the Sabines. In the peace negotiations that followed, Tarquinius received the town of Collatia and appointed his nephew, Arruns Tarquinius known as Egerius, as commander of the garrison which he stationed in that city. Tarquinius returned to Rome and celebrated a triumph for his victories that, according to the Fasti Triumphales, occurred on 13 September 585 BC. Subsequently, the Latin cities of Corniculum, old Ficulea, Crustumerium, Ameriola and Nomentum were subdued and became Roman. Early in his reign, Servius Tullius warred against Veii and the Etruscans.
He is said to have shown valour in the campaign, to have routed a great army of the enemy. The war helped him to cement his position at Rome. According to t
The Latin noun līmes had a number of different meanings: a path or balk delimiting fields, a boundary line or marker, any road or path, any channel, such as a stream channel, or any distinction or difference. The term was commonly used after the 3rd century AD to denote a military district under the command of a dux limitis. Limes has sometimes been adopted in modern times for a border defence or delimiting system of Ancient Rome marking the boundaries and provinces of the Roman Empire, but it was not used by the Romans for the imperial frontier, fortified or not; some experts suggested that the so-called limes may have been called Munimentum Traiani, Trajan's Bulwark, referring to a passage by Ammianus Marcellinus, according to which emperor Julian had reoccupied this fortification in 360 AD. The limites represented the border line of the Roman Empire at its greatest extent in the 2nd century AD, it stretched more than 5,000 km from the Atlantic coast of northern Britain, through Europe to the Black Sea, from there to the Red Sea and across North Africa to the Atlantic coast.
The remains of the limites today consist of vestiges of walls, forts and civilian settlements. Certain elements of the line have been excavated, some reconstructed, a few destroyed; the two sections of the limes in Germany cover a length of 550 km from the north-west of the country to the Danube in the south-east. The 118 km long Hadrian's Wall was built on the orders of the Emperor Hadrian c. AD 122 at the northernmost limits of the Roman province of Britannia, it is a striking example of the organization of a military zone and illustrates the defensive techniques and geopolitical strategies of ancient Rome. The Antonine Wall, a 60 km-long fortification in Scotland, was started by Emperor Antoninus Pius in AD 142 as a defense against the "Barbarians" of the north, it constitutes the northwestern-most portion of the Roman Limes. The most notable examples of Roman limites are: Hadrian's Wall – Limes Britannicus Antonine Wall – in Scotland Saxon Shore, late Roman limes in South-East England Limes Germanicus, with the Upper Germanic & Rhaetian Limes Limes Arabicus, the frontier of the Roman province of Arabia Petraea facing the desert Limes Tripolitanus, the frontier in modern Libya facing the Sahara Limes Alutanus, the eastern border of the Roman province of Dacia Limes Transalutanus, the frontier in the lower Danube Limes Moesiae, the frontier of the Roman province Moesia, from Singidunum Serbia along the Danube to Moldavia.
Limes Norici, the frontier of the Roman province Noricum, from the River Inn along the Danube to Cannabiaca in Austria. Limes Pannonicus, the frontier of the Roman province Pannonia, along the Danube from Klosterneuburg Austria to Taurunum in Serbia. Fossatum Africae, the southern frontier of the Roman Empire, extending south of the Roman province of Africa in North-Africa. A mediaeval limes is the Limes Saxoniae in Holstein; the stem of limes, limit-, which can be seen in the genitive case, marks it as the ancestor of an entire group of important words in many languages, for example, English limit. Modern languages have multiplied its abstract formulations. For example, from limit comes the abbreviation lim, used in mathematics to designate the limit of a sequence or a function: see limit. In metaphysics, material objects are limited by matter and therefore are delimited from each other. In ethics, men are wise if they do. An etymology was given in some detail by Indogermanisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch.
According to him, it comes from Indo-European el-, elei-, lei-, "to bow", "to bend", "elbow". The Latin meaning was discussed in detail by W. Gebert; the sense is. The limes was a cross-path or a cross-wall, which the Romans meant to throw across the path of invaders to hinder them, it is a defensive strategy. The Romans never built limites; as the emperor had ordered the army to stay within the limites, except for punitive expeditions, these were as much a mental barrier as material. The groups of Germanic warriors harrying the limes during summer used the concept to full advantage, knowing that they could concentrate and supply themselves outside the limes without fear of preemptive strikes. In a few cases, they were wrong; the limit concept engendered a sentiment among the soldiers that they were being provoked by the Germanic raiders and were held back from just retaliation by a weak and incompetent administration: they were being sold out. So they mutinied; the best remedy for a mutiny was an expedition across the limes against the enemy.
Toward the empire, the soldiers assassinated emperors who preferred diplomacy and put their own most popular officers into the vacant office. Roman writers and subsequent authors who depended on them presented the limes as some sort of sacred border beyond which human beings did not transgress, if they did, it was evidence that they had passed the bounds of reason and civilization. To cross the border was the mark of a savage, they wrote of the Alemanni failing to respect the limes as if they had passed the final limitation of character and had committed themselves to perdition. The Alemanni, on the other hand, never regarded the border as legitimate in the first place, they viewed the Romans as foreigners, who changed native place names and intruded on native homes and families. They were only to be tolerated because they were willing to pay cash for the privilege and offered the blandishments of civilized life. According to Pokorny, Latin limen, "threshold"
Theveste was a Roman- colony situated in the present Tébessa, Algeria. In 146 BC, the Romans conquered the region, where existed an old city called "Tbessa". Theveste was founded by the Romans in 75 AD near an old Berber village located next to the Aurès Mountains, in order to control the mountain region. During the 1st century CE, the Legio III Augusta resided there before being transferred to Lambaesis, it was made a colonia under Trajan. Theveste flourished under Septimius Severus reaching a population calculated in nearly 30,000 inhabitants, was an important Dioceses See. There is mention of a council held there by the Donatists. Among its saints were Lucius, its bishop, who assisted at the Council of Carthage and died as a martyr two years later; some of its bishops are known: Romulus in 349 AD. During the 4th and 5th century AD Thebeste was a centre of Manichaeism as well. In June 1918 a codex of 26 leaves written in Latin by Manichaeans was discovered in a cave near the city. Theveste was raided by the Vandals, but it was rebuilt at the beginning of the reign of Justinian I by the patrician Solomon.
He erected a tomb there. The city was nearly destroyed by Umayyad Caliphate forces, but a small village remained for centuries. Modern Tebessa is rich in ancient monuments, among them being a triumphal arch of Caracalla, a temple, a Christian basilica of the 4th century and the huge walls. Around the Roman Forum it is possible to see today the remains of: Arch of Caracalla, a Roman triumphal arch dating from 214 A. D; this edifice, the North entrance to the town is positioned as a square at the junction of two roads. The four facades of this door are all identical. Temple of Minerva, with walls decorated by mosaics; the Minerva Temple dates from the beginning of the 3rd Century. The interior walls of this Temple are ornated with beautiful mosaics. One finds inside it various prehistoric articles Remains of the basilica of St. Crispinus, one of the biggest in Africa, it has chapels, baptism urns and gardens. The basilica is situated at the exterior of the old city at the north of the Arc of Caracalla.
There are various pathways, huge steps, underpath walkways, many Romain edifices around. This basilica is consecrated to a local Saint, Sainte Crispine, dates from the end of the 4th Century, is one of the biggest in Africa. Byzantine walls, popularly flanked by thirteen square towers; the Solomon wall encircles the old town centre. These walls are flanked by towers. One of these four doors is an Arc de Triomphe. Roman theatre. Small in size, because created when the city was refounded as base for the Legio III Augusta. Amphitheatre. Divided in 2 sections. Roman aqueduct. Still working. Laffi, Umberto. Colonie e municipi nello Stato romano Ed. di Storia e Letteratura. Roma, 2007 ISBN 8884983509 Mommsen, Theodore; the Provinces of the Roman Empire Section: Roman Africa. Barnes & Noble. New York, 1996 Smyth Vereker, Charles. Scenes in the Sunny South: Including the Atlas Mountains and the Oases of the Sahara in Algeria. Volume 2. Publisher Longmans and Company. University of Wisconsin. Madison,1871 Arch of Caracalla in Theveste Mauretania Caesariensis Hippo Regius Cirta Thagaste This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed..
"article name needed". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton
The Limes Britannicus is a modern collective name sometimes used for those fortifications and defensive ramparts that were built to protect the north, the coasts, major transport routes of Roman Britain. These defences existed from the 1st to the 5th centuries AD and ran through the territory of present-day England and Wales. Britain was one of the most troubled regions in the European part of the Roman Empire and could only be secured by the Roman Army at considerable effort. Despite a rapid victory over the tribes in the south, which Claudius' field commander, Aulus Plautius, achieved in 43 AD for Rome, the resistance of the British was not broken for a long time afterwards; the Romans succeeded in further consolidating their rule in the period that followed, although the troops stationed there were overburdened by having to defend Britain on three fronts. The incursions of barbarians from the north of the island caused serious problems. To the west and south, the Britannic provinces had to be defended against Hibernian and Germanic attacks.
Against all odds, Britain was held for three centuries by the Roman Empire. In retrospect, the Roman domination of Britain is considered to be positive. For a long time there was prosperity on the island. Behind the protection of Hadrian's Wall and that formed by the natural coastal boundaries to the east and west, the region we now know as England was influenced by the achievements of Roman civilization. Hadrian's Wall and the castra on the Saxon Shore are still the most prominent symbols of Roman rule over Britain; the conquest of Britain was ordered in 43 AD by Emperor Claudius. Claudius had a low reputation among his troops and was forced - according to the tradition of emperors - to acquire glory on the battlefield in order to secure his rule permanently. Britannia had large deposits of precious metals, fertile soil and vast forests, which made it economically attractive to the Romans. Most of Great Britain was conquered in the first year of the invasion. However, this campaign sparked a long-running resistance by the native Britons against their occupiers that lasted for decades.
Following the Boudica Uprising, they succeeded in expelling the Roman Army from the island. It may have been that Claudius planned to occupy only the lowland regions of Britain. In the 1st century, the Romans had no clear idea. Roman influence was therefore continually extended as the borders of their conquered territory shifted several times. Time and again fighting broke out with the indigenous Celtic tribes in the border zones of the new province, compelling Roman troops to move into new areas in the west and north, in order to ensure the permanence of Roman rule and to secure their borders. In 80 AD, the army of Agricola penetrated well into Caledonian territory after his victory in the Battle of Mons Graupius. After attempts to permanently occupy the Highlands failed, the Romans fell back in 120 AD to the Stanegate line; the majority of troops in Britain had to continue to be stationed in the north. As protection against raids by pirates from Ireland, a powerful protection force was needed on the west coast.
In particular, the regions of Cumbria and Lancashire suffered time and again from the plundering of the Irish. During the reign of Hadrian, Britain was still not an peaceful province. Coin missions dating to this time indicate that Britain was in a "permanent state of defence" and pre-Roman tribal societies continued to occupy the outer regions of the island; the greatest danger was always posed by the Picts from who lived on the far side of the Scottish rivers, the Forth and the Clyde. Moreover, in the lands between these rivers and Hadrian’s Wall, the Central Lowlands, there were still four other Celtic tribes - the Votadini, Selgovae and Novantae - which Rome sought to incorporate in order to be able to neutralise their fighting power and make use of their farmland. To that end, road forts were built to protect Rome’s territorial claims. From 122, the northern border was secured by Hadrian's Wall; the fortifications on the coast of Cumbria, which were erected were intended to prevent the Wall being circumvented in the West.
Under Hadrian, the three legion camps were rebuilt in stone. In 140 AD, Roman troops advanced again against the Caledonians and built the Antonine Wall further to the north but, by 160, it had been abandoned. In the period 155-158 AD there was a revolt in Britain which led to heavy losses being inflicted on the local legions; these losses had to be made up by reinforcements from the Germanic Rhine provinces. At the end of the 2nd century seafaring Germanic peoples – the Angles and Franks - began to threaten the Gallic and British coasts with the first raids from the continent. During the course of the civil war that followed the election of Septimius Severus as emperor, his rival, Clodius Albinus, set forth for the continent in 197 with the Britannic army, but suffered a crushing defeat against Severus’ troops in the Battle of Lugdunum. In the 3rd century, Roman Britain underwent profound changes. With the return of soldiers to the island, their first task was to drive back the Picts, who had taken advantage of the absence of Roman troops to raid and plunder extensively.
As a result, Septimius Severus ordered a large-scale punitive expedition against the tribes north of Hadrian's Wall and reoccupied the Antonine Wall for a short time. Unlike the other provinces, Britain appeared stable and calm; the short-term separation of the island from the rest of the Empire under the usurper Carausius showed that this was an illusion and that the power of Ro
Technological history of the Roman military
The technology history of the Roman military covers the development of and application of technologies for use in the armies and navies of Rome from the Roman Republic to the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The rise of Hellenism and the Roman Republic are seen as signalling the end of the Iron Age in the Mediterranean. Roman iron-working was enhanced by a process known as carburization; the Romans used the better properties in their armaments, the 1,300 years of Roman military technology saw radical changes. The Roman armies of the early empire were much better equipped than early republican armies. Metals used for arms and armor included iron and brass. For construction, the army used wood and stone; the use of concrete in architecture was mirrored in Roman military technology in the application of a military workforce to civilian construction projects. Much of what is described as Roman technology, as opposed to that of the Greeks, comes directly from the Etruscan civilization, thriving to the North when Rome was just a small kingdom.
The Etruscans had invented the stone arch, used it in bridges as well as buildings. Some Roman technologies were taken directly from Greek civilization. After the absorption of the ancient Greek city states into the Roman Republic in 146 BC, the advanced Greek technology began to spread across many areas of Roman influence and supplement the Empire; this included the military advances that the Greeks had made, as well as all the scientific, mathematical and artistic developments. However, the Romans made many significant technological advances, such as the invention of hydraulic cement and concrete, they used such new materials to great advantage in their structures, many of which survive to this day, like their masonry aqueducts, such as the Pont du Gard, buildings, such as the Pantheon and Baths of Diocletian in Rome. Their methods were recorded by such luminaries as Vitruvius and Frontinus for example, who wrote handbooks to advise fellow engineers and architects. Romans knew enough history to be aware that widespread technological change had occurred in the past and brought benefits, as shown for example by Pliny the Elder's Naturalis Historia.
That tradition continued as the empire absorbed new ideas. Romans thought of themselves as practical, so small-scale innovation was common; the traditional view is that their reliance on a plentiful slave labour force and a lack of a patent or copyright system have both been cited as reasons that there was little social or financial pressure to automate or reduce manual tasks. However, this view is being challenged by new research that shows they did indeed innovate, on a wide scale, thus the watermill had been known to the Greeks, but it was the Romans who developed their efficient utilisation. The set of mills at Barbegal in southern France were worked by a single aqueduct, which drove no fewer than 16 overshot mills built into the side of a hill, they were built by the army and supplied flour to a wide region. Floating mills were used to exploit fast flowing rivers; the Romans used water power in an unexpected way during mining operations. It's known from the writings of Pliny the Elder that they exploited the alluvial gold deposits of north-west Spain soon after the conquest of the region in 25 BC using large-scale hydraulic mining methods.
The spectacular gold mine at Las Medulas was worked by no fewer than seven long aqueducts cut into the surrounding mountains, the water being played directly onto the soft auriferous ore. The outflow was channelled into sluice boxes, the heavier gold collected on rough pavements, they developed many deep mines, such as those for copper at Rio Tinto, where Victorian mining developments exposed the much earlier workings. Dewatering machines, such as Archimedean screws and reverse overshot water wheels, were found in situ, one of, on show at the British Museum. Another fragmentary example was recovered from the Roman gold mine at Dolaucothi in west Wales, is preserved at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff; the army were at the forefront of development of gold mines, since the metal was imperial property, developed the Dolaucothi mines from the outset by establishing a fort there, known as Luentinum. They had the expertise to build the infrastructure of aqueducts and reservoirs, as well as control production.
The period in which technological progress was fastest and greatest was during the 2nd century and 1st century BC, the period in which Roman political and economic power increased. By the 2nd century, Roman technology appears to have peaked; the Romans advanced military technology and implemented it on a massive scale. From a few early models of ballista from Greek city-states the Romans adopted and improved the design issuing one to every century in the legions. To facilitate this organization, an engineering corps was developed. An officer of engineers, or praefectus fabrum, is referenced in armies of the Late Republic, but this post is not verifiable in all accounts and may have been a military advisor on the personal staff of a commanding officer. There were legion architects. Ensuring that constructions were level was the job of the libratores, who would launch missiles and other projectiles during battle; the engineering corps was in charge of massive production prefabricating artillery and siege equipment to facilitate its transportation Roman military engineering Roman aqueducts Roman technology Sanitation in ancient R