Carlson’s ” The Romans” starts off logically be explaining the founding of the city Rome, with brothers Romulus and Remus. Tragically abandoned at birth and raised by wolves to found Rome in 752 BC. Roman legend says that the city started with a king, but decedents of Romulus overthrew him in place of a senate with 2 consuls, each having veto power. With time the common fold, or the plebeians, would also make their own senate, creating a republic with checks and balances.
This is where the fun begins, once Rome has control of Italy, they began to search for conquests overseas. Originally favoring the Greek phalanx, they adopted the legion, a heavily armored food soldier. Rome set their sights on Carthage in North Africa, amassing a fleet of over 100 warships and finally wining the first Punic War in 146 BC. Part of the Roman military success came from their advanced was machines, like the ballista, catapult, or even siege towers. During the Gallic wars, Roman general Julius Caesar recorded an account of his engineers building a pontoon bridge in order to march over the Rhine into Gaul, something that was thought to be impossible. Under Caesar Rome would continue to grow, even after he was assassinated, until the height of it’s power with emperor Trajan.
Caesar’s Rhine bridged, painted by John Soane (1814)
With military conquest came many riches to the nation, and Rome was a spectacle to see. Sprawling buildings, with Greek influenced architecture, massive columns and arches, and a huge space for everyone to watch people fight against lions. The Roman Colosseum spanned a massive 165 feet tall and seated over 50,000 people. The arena was primarily used for animal fights, gladiatorial combat, but it could be flooded for mock naval battles as well. Making this masterpiece required tons of stone, all transported on the Roman highway system. A sprawling connection of roads made from layers stone slabs, gravel on top of that, and finished off with a layer of cobblestones. As a testament to time, the roads are still standing today.
Rome isn’t Rome without it’s aqueducts and arches. With the use of concrete, the Roman empire had eight aqueducts, bringing over 220 million gallons of drinking water a day to the city. Such engineering marvels could be accomplished because of the arches employed by Roman Engineers.
For a more complete part of Romes Military conquests, which is my favorite part, http://www.ancientmilitary.com/roman-military.htm
Word Count 402: Vincent Carno