Roman Empire

Roman Empire: 5 Incredible feats of ancient technology

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The Roman Empire did not end with the inventions and innovations of the ancient Romans. Despite the passage of millennia, the Romans’ magnificent labor may still be seen in everyday life.

Ancient Rome is undoubtedly one of the most well-known civilizations for innovations that altered the trajectory of human history. However, in many circumstances, the Roman invention was better described as an innovation, resulting in adjustments to existing technology. Without further ado, here is a list of the top ten ancient Roman innovations that resulted in significant improvements in engineering and construction, establishing the Romans as one of the most influential civilizations of the modern era.

According to the journal Science, the Romans had great power and influence in the ancient world, with an empire covering much of Europe, western Asia, northern Africa, and the Mediterranean. From the 8th century B.C., when Rome was formed, through the 5th century, when the Western Empire fell apart, Roman technology inspired some of the contemporary world’s tools, architecture, and city structures.

However, not every ancient innovation can be attributed entirely to the Romans. According to the Journal for the History of Astronomy, the first calendar was not a Roman invention. Still, the widespread adoption of the Julian calendar gave the vast majority of the globe a means to measure passing time.

Here are seven things the Romans taught the globe, ranging from their distinctive innovations to better tactics. The Romans devised the hypocaust system, an early mechanism for effectively transferring heat. To learn more about this system, click on the interactive picture below.


Roman Empire

The ancient Romans excelled at rapidly constructing new structures and retaining their structural integrity. The groundbreaking concrete invented by the Romans aided in the construction of flawless and long-lasting structures, and it played a significant role in the architectural development of ancient Rome. Its composition was discovered to be superior to modern-day concrete and considerably more ecologically friendly by experts who investigated it in depth.

They tested with a piece of concrete that had been immersed in the Mediterranean for almost 2,000 years. This concrete generated a composite that was drastically different from the concrete we use today, making it a solid construction material, according to analysis. The Romans mixed their cement with a volcanic rock known as “tuff,” which allowed the final concrete to withstand chemical deterioration.

2. Books and Newspaper

Roman Empire

According to BBC Culture, the Romans are credited for replacing scrolls with the earliest type of book, despite being far from the first to leave written records. Instead of today’s paper, bound wax tablets called codices were utilized.

The Acta Diurna, which translates as “Daily Events,” was produced by Rome, the first empire to build a comprehensive system of transmitting written news. From 59 B.C. through roughly 222 AD, the government published and placed these handwritten newspapers in the Roman Forum regularly. Political news, trials, military battles, executions, big scandals, and other comparable issues traditionally made up the majority of the content of the Acta Diurna.

3. Surgery Tools and Techniques

Roman Empire
M0000360 Greek and Roman surgical instruments from WHMM Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images Greek and Roman surgical instruments from the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum Published: – Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

According to an essay published in the Archive of Oncology, the Romans created several surgical instruments and shared knowledge of surgical operations. On the battlefield, several of these medical advancements occurred.

Surgical innovations made by the ancient Greeks had a significant impact on the Roman medical environment. Medical practitioners in ancient Rome not only used all available equipment, but they also created numerous new ones and pioneered procedures like the cesarean section. 

However, they produced the most significant surgical advances on the battlefield by prioritizing field medicine. A military medical corps was founded under Augustus’ reign to treat injured troops in combat. The Romans perfected medical technologies to prevent acute blood loss in battle, and thousands of lives were saved.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a recorded rule in ancient Rome was that if a mother died while giving birth, the kid had to be cut out of her body. As a result, the first cesarean section was created.

4. Grid-based cities in Roman Empire

According to the American Journal of Archaeology, the grid pattern of cities, also known as the centurion, was one of the forms used by ancient Romans to divide and measure their territory. The grid pattern, which divided Roman land into conquered areas, is still used to divide big cities into active highways and streets today.

A rectangle or square in a nearly perfect orthogonal pattern defined an essential Roman grid. The cardo and decumanus, the grid’s two principal streets, would cross near the grid’s center at a right angle. This grid was a perfect foundation for organizing a city’s many components into specific blocks, such as houses, theatres, and commerce.

The Romans also brought the concept of huge towns and cities to numerous countries. Their crisscrossing street structure formed insulae or central trading areas. According to an article published in the Journal of Space Syntax, this structure inspired the following generation of city planners.

5. Sewers and Sanitation

According to the journal Sustainability, ancient Rome had some of the world’s earliest sewer networks. The earliest subterranean sewers were built approximately 500 B.C., and they comprised massive, carved-stone tubes.

The Romans built a series of public baths and latrines and an interconnected sewage system that connected them all in a sophisticated and efficient feat of engineering. The sewers and drains that ran down the sides of the streets in Rome and other large towns were massive. The quantity of water in Roman aqueducts and runoff water from nearby streams was utilized to regularly flush these drains and sewers.

The sewage then made its way through a maze of tunnels until it reached the Tiber, Rome’s major river. Sewer architecture hasn’t altered much since these ancient structures. According to the Journal of Transportation Technologies, ancient Rome’s “Greatest Sewer” is still in use today and is one of the oldest extant Ancient Roman buildings.