Roman Technology

While the Romans didn’t have a lot of machines, they did use technology and had systems in place to make their lives better. Instead of motors and engines, they had slaves doing the heavy lifting.

Slaves brought water and added wood to the fires to keep the home warm. Floors were raised to allow air to flow underneath the floor. The air would be warmed by the fire, giving them heated floors to warm their rooms.

Although slaves could bring water from a local source, they couldn’t bring it from far. You’ve seen how Romans could build roads extremely well. They built roads for water; waterways, I guess you could say. They were called aqueducts.

Aqueducts were roads and bridges for water. They carried water from a lake or mountain spring down to the town. Water naturally moves downward, being pulled by gravity. They gave it a path to travel so that it ended up where they wanted it. Take a look at these pictures.

This is a modern picture, but it shows a channel where water runs through.
This is an aqueduct built like a bridge. The water is carried along the top.

This is a modern picture as well, but you can see the aqueduct still stands. The Romans were the first to use arches in their bridges. You can the many, many arches in the picture of the aqueduct.

They built arches into their buildings, too, which also enabled them to build domes. Maybe the most famous was the first large domed building, the Pantheon, in Rome.

The domed ceiling of the Pantheon has a circular sun roof.

This temple may have been the most important building in Rome. It was dedicated to all the gods. It was a place that people gathered at. Where there are people, there is waste. Romans not only brought in clean water, but they got rid of their waste water as well. Towns had underground drains to take away dirty water, like from the public baths. It kept them healthier.

One other place technology was used was in war. Two Roman war machines are the catapult and the crossbow.

This is a wooden catapult. The X thing there was a handle to turn to lower the arm down as far as possible to shoot it with as much force as can be.
This picture isn’t the same time period, but it is a crossbow. I wanted you to see how he’s turning a handle. Just like the catapult, it would pull the bowstring back as far as possible to send the arrow as far and as fast as it could go.
Here’s a reenactment of a Roman crossbow machine. It enabled them to pull back really far on the bowstring and send the arrow far and fast. The arrow shoots out the hole in the panel. You can see the wooden path for the arrow to sit on to guide it straight.


Picture Credit:

Public Domain