Roman technology: Wikis


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The Pont du Gard in France is a Roman aqueduct built in ca. 19 BC.
Mercury gilded statue - Marcus Aurelius

Roman technology is the engineering practice which supported Roman civilization and made the expansion of Roman commerce and Roman military possible over nearly a thousand years.

The Roman Empire had the most advanced technology of its time, some of which was lost during the turbulent eras of Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages. Gradually, some of the technological feats of the Romans were rediscovered and/or improved upon, while others went ahead of what the Romans had done during the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Modern Era. Several Roman technological feats in different areas like civil engineering, construction materials, transport technology, and some inventions such as the mechanical reaper, remained unsurpassed until the 19th century, and some, such has the arch, has remained untouched to this day.


Process of acquiring new technology

Foreign influence

Much of what is described as typically Roman technology, as opposed to that of the Greeks, comes directly from the Etruscan civilization, which was thriving to the North when Rome was just a small kingdom. The Etruscans had perfected the stone arch, and used it in bridges as well as buildings. Etruscan cities had paved streets and sewer systems, unlike most city-states, which had muddy roads and no sewers save filthy open-air trenches.

Some later Roman technology was taken directly from Greek civilization. Torsion artillery made the individual Greek city states newly vulnerable. Nor could city state militias compete against the coordinated arms of the new professional armies. The future lay with regional powers. By founding colonies of citizens and alliances with many small city states, Rome became a major multiple city regional power despite having the formal constitution of an individual city state. Rome's success would owe something to being on the periphery of a number of cultures, Etruscan, Greek and perhaps Samnite and Carthaginian.

Roman fleets were based directly on Carthaginian quinqueremes but were quickly adapted with the Roman innovation of the corvus (Polybius 1,21-23).

Speed of innovation

Transparent glass bowl of fruit. Wall painting in the Roman Villa Boscoreale, Italy (1st century AD).

Small scale innovation was common as devices were gradually made more efficient, such as the improvement of the overshot water wheel and the improvements in wagon construction. Technology could and did evolve. The scale of the Empire encouraged the geographical spread of innovations. The ideal Roman citizen was an articulate veteran soldier who could wisely govern a large family household, which was supported by slave labor. Innovators did have some prestige; Pliny, for example, often records their names, or has some story to account for the innovation. Romans also knew enough history to be aware that technological change had occurred in the past and brought benefits. Military innovation was always valued. One text, De Rebus Bellicis, devoted to a number of innovations in military machinery, has survived.

The apparent period in which technological progress was fastest and greatest was during the 2nd century and 1st century BC, which was the period in which Roman political and economic power greatly increased. Innovation continued until the fall of the Empire, and it would take hundreds of years for all of its technological advancements to be rediscovered by other civilizations. Our understanding of Roman technology is provided by Pliny's Naturalis Historia, the De Architectura of Vitruvius and the De aquaeductu of Frontinus, all reliable works which give good information, and many inventions they mention have been confirmed by modern archaeology. By the beginning of the 1st century, most of what is considered today as typical Roman technology was already invented and refined, such as concrete, plumbing facilities, cranes, wagon technology, mechanized harvesting machines, domes, the arch in building practice, wine and oil presses, and glass blowing.

The energy constraint

The sixteen overshot wheels at Barbegal are considered the biggest ancient mill complex. Their capacity was sufficient to feed the whole nearby city of Arles.[1]
Scheme of the Roman Hierapolis sawmill, the earliest known machine to incorporate a crank and connecting rod mechanism.[2 ]

All technology uses energy to transform a material into a desirable object. The cheaper energy is, the wider the class of technologies that are considered economic. This is why technological history can be seen as a succession of ages defined by energy type i.e. human, animal, water, peat, coal, and oil.[3] The Romans had water power, and exploited wood and coal for heating. There were huge reserves of wood, peat and coal in the Roman Empire, but they were all in the wrong place. Wood could be floated down rivers to the major urban centres but otherwise it was a very poor fuel, being heavy for its calorific value. If this was improved by being processed into charcoal, it was bulky. Nor was wood ever available in any concentration. Diocletian's Price Edict can give us a glimpse of the economics of transporting wood. The maximum price of a wagon load of 1,200 lbs of wood was 150 d.(denari). The maximum freight charge per mile for the same wagon load was 20 d. per mile. Room heating was normally better done by charcoal braziers than hypocausts. But hypocausts did allow them to exploit any poor-quality smoky fuels like straw, vine prunings and small wood locally available. Hypocausts also allowed them to generate a humid heat for their baths. The Romans worked almost all the coalfields of England that outcropped on the surface, by the end of the 2nd century (Smith 1997; 323). But there is no evidence that this exploitation was on any scale. After c.200 AD the commercial heart of the Empire was in Africa and the East where the climate severely limited timber growth. There was no large coalfield on the edge of the Mediterranean.

Craft basis

Roman Cage Cup from the 4th century AD. Hypothesised as a floating wick oil lamp to give magical downwards lighting effects.

Roman technology was largely based on a system of crafts, although the term engineering is used today to describe the technical feats of the Romans. The Greek words used were mechanic or machine-maker or even mathematician which had a much wider meaning than now. There were a large number of engineers employed by the army. The most famous engineer of this period was Apollodorus of Damascus. Normally each trade, each group of artisans—stone masons, glass blowers, surveyors, etc.—within a project had its own practice of masters and apprentices, and many tried to keep their trade secrets, passing them on solely by word of mouth, a system still in use today by those who do not want to patent their inventions. Writers such as Vitruvius, Pliny the Elder and Frontinus published widely on many different technologies, and there was a corpus of manuals on basic mathematics and science such as the many books by Archimedes, Ctesibius, Heron (a.k.a. Hero of Alexandria), Euclid and so on. Not all of the manuals which were available to the Romans have survived, as lost works illustrates.

Much of what is known of Roman technology comes indirectly from archaeology and from the third-hand accounts of Latin texts copied from Arabic texts, which were in turn copied from the Greek texts of scholars such as Hero of Alexandria or contemporary travelers who had observed Roman technologies in action. Writers like Pliny the Elder and Strabo had enough intellectual curiosity to make note of the inventions they saw during their travels, although their typically brief descriptions often arouse discussion as to their precise meaning. On the other hand, Pliny is perfectly clear when describing gold mining, his text in book xxxiii having been confirmed by archaeology and field-work at such sites as Las Medulas and Dolaucothi.

Engineering and construction

The Romans made great use of aqueducts, dams, bridges, and amphitheaters. They were also responsible for many innovations to roads, sanitation, and construction in general. Roman architecture in general was greatly influenced by the Etruscans. Most of the columns and arches seen in famous Roman architecture were adopted from the Etruscan civilization.

In the Roman Empire, cements made from pozzolanic ash/pozzolana and an aggregate made from pumice were used to make a concrete very similar to modern Portland cement concrete. In 20s BC the architect Vitruvius described a low-water-content method for mixing concrete. The Romans found out that insulated glazing (or "double glazing") improved greatly on keeping buildings warm, and this technique was used in the construction of public baths.

Another truly original process which was born in the empire was the practice of glassblowing, which started in Syria and spread in about one generation in the empire.


Reconstruction of a 10.4-metre-high Roman construction crane at Bonn, Germany

There were many types of presses to press olives, In the 1st century, Pliny the Elder reported the invention and subsequent general use of the new and more compact screw presses. However, the screw press was almost certainly not a Roman invention. It was first described by Hero of Alexandria, but may have already been in use when he mentioned it in his Mechanica III.

Cranes were used for construction work and possibly to load and unload ships at their ports, although for the latter use there is according to the “present state of knowledge” still no evidence.[4] Most cranes were capable of lifting about 6-7 tons of cargo, and according to a relief shown on Trajan's column were worked by treadwheel.


Via Appia, a road connecting the city of Rome to the Southern parts of Italy remains usable even today.

The Romans primarily built roads for their military. Their economic importance was probably also significant, although wagon traffic was often banned from the roads to preserve their military value. At its largest extent the total length of the Roman road network was 85,000 kilometres (53,000 mi).

Way stations providing refreshments were maintained by the government at regular intervals along the roads. A separate system of changing stations for official and private couriers was also maintained. This allowed a dispatch to travel a maximum of 800 kilometres (500 mi) in 24 hours by using a relay of horses.

The roads were constructed by digging a pit along the length of the intended course, often to bedrock. The pit was first filled with rocks, gravel or sand and then a layer of concrete. Finally they were paved with polygonal rock slabs. Roman roads are considered the most advanced roads built until the early 19th century. Bridges were constructed over waterways. The roads were resistant to floods and other environmental hazards. After the fall of the Roman empire the roads were still usable and used for more than 1000 years.


The Romans constructed numerous aqueducts to supply water. The city of Rome itself was supplied by eleven aqueducts that provided the city with over 1 million cubic metres of water each day, sufficient for 3.5 million people even in modern day times,[2] and with a combined length of 350 kilometres (220 mi).[3] Most aqueducts were constructed below the surface with only small portions above ground supported by arches.[4] The longest Roman aqueduct, 178 kilometres (111 mi) in length, was traditionally assumed to be that which supplied the city of Carthage. The complex system built to supply Constantinople had its most distant supply drawn from over 120 km away along a sinuous route of more than 336 km.[5]

Roman aqueducts were built to remarkably fine tolerances, and to a technological standard that was not to be equaled until modern times. Powered entirely by gravity, they transported very large amounts of water very efficiently. Sometimes, where depressions deeper than 50 metres had to be crossed, inverted siphons were used to force water uphill.[2] An aqueduct also supplied water for the overshot wheels at Barbegal in Roman Gaul, a complex of water mills hailed as "the greatest known concentration of mechanical power in the ancient world".[1]


Roman bridges were among the first large and lasting bridges built. They were built with stone and had the arch as its basic structure. Most utilized concrete as well. Built in 142 BC, the Pons Aemilius, later named Ponte Rotto (broken bridge) is the oldest Roman stone bridge in Rome, Italy. The biggest Roman bridge was Trajan's bridge over the lower Danube, constructed by Apollodorus of Damascus, which remained for over a millennium the longest bridge to have been built both in terms of overall and span length. They were most of the time at least 60 feet above the body of water.

An example of temporary military bridge construction are the two Caesar's Rhine bridges.


The sizable Roman Harbaqa Dam in Syria is 21 m high and 365 m long.

They also built many dams for water collection, such as the Subiaco Dams, two of which fed Anio Novus, one of the largest aqueducts of Rome. They built 72 dams in just one country, Spain and many more are known across the Empire, some of which are still in use. At one site, Montefurado in Galicia, they appear to have built a dam across the river Sil to expose alluvial gold deposits in the bed of the river. The site is near the spectacular Roman gold mine of Las Medulas. Several earthen dams are known from Britain, including a well-preserved example from Roman Lanchester, Longovicium, where it may have been used in industrial-scale smithing or smelting, judging by the piles of slag found at this site in northern England. Tanks for holding water are also common along aqueduct systems, and numerous examples are known from just one site, the gold mines at Dolaucothi in west Wales. Masonry dams were common in North Africa for providing a reliable water supply from the wadis behind many settlements.


Development of Dolaucothi mine

The Romans also made great use of aqueducts in their extensive mining operations across the empire, some sites such as Las Medulas in north-west Spain having at least 7 major channels entering the minehead. Other sites such as Dolaucothi in south Wales was fed by at least 5 leats, all leading to reservoirs and tanks or cisterns high above the present opencast. The water was used for hydraulic mining, where streams or waves of water are released onto the hillside, first to reveal any gold-bearing ore, and then to work the ore itself. Rock debris could be sluiced away by hushing, and the water also used to douse fires created to break down the hard rock and veins, a method known as fire-setting.

Alluvial gold deposits could be worked and the gold extracted without needing to crush the ore. Washing tables were fitted below the tanks to collect the gold-dust and any nuggets present. Vein gold needed crushing, and they probably used crushing or stamp mills worked by water-wheels to comminute the hard ore before washing. Large quantities of water were also needed in deep mining to remove waste debris and power primitive machines, as well as for washing the crushed ore. Pliny the Elder provides a detailed description of gold mining in book xxxiii of his Naturalis Historia, most of which has been confirmed by archaeology. That they used water mills on a large scale elsewhere is attested by the flour mills at Barbegal in southern France, and on the Janiculum in Rome.


Roman public baths in Bath, England. The loss of the original roof has encouraged green algae growth.

The Romans were one of the first known civilizations to invent indoor plumbing. The Roman public baths, or thermae served hygienic, social and cultural functions. The baths contained three main facilities for bathing. After undressing in the apodyterium or changing room, Romans would proceed to the tepidarium or warm room. In the moderate dry heat of the tepidarium, some performed warm-up exercises and stretched while others oiled themselves or had slaves oil them. The tepidarium’s main purpose was to promote sweating to prepare for the next room, the caldarium or hot room. The caldarium, unlike the tepidarium, was extremely humid and hot. Temperatures in the caldarium could reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). Many contained steam baths and a cold-water fountain known as the labrum. The last room was the frigidarium or cold room, which offered a cold bath for cooling off after the caldarium. The Romans also had flush toilets.

Roman military technology

A Roman Ballista

The Roman military technology ranged from personal equipment and armament to deadly siege engines. They inherited almost all ancient weapons.

While heavy, intricate armour was not uncommon (cataphracts), the Romans perfected a relatively light, full torso armour made of segmented plates (lorica segmentata). This segmented armour provided flexibility and protection of most vital areas, and was not associated with the laborious craftwork that other armours (such as chainmail) were. Furthermore, the rest of the Roman soldier's equipment used similarly innovative and effective technology.

The Roman cavalry saddle had four horns [5] and was believed to have been copied from Celtic peoples.

Roman siege engines such as ballistas, scorpions and onagers were not unique. But the Romans were probably the first people to put ballistas on carts to provide battlefield support for the Roman legions. On the battlefield they were accurate enough to take out enemy leaders.

Technologies invented or developed by the Romans

Roman Pentaspastos ("Five-pulley-crane"), a medium-sized variant (ca. 450 kg load)
The unfinished Roman Corinth Canal, 1st century AD
Ship with spritsail, the earliest fore-and-aft rig, 3rd century AD
Pointable fire engine nozzle
Late Roman paddle-wheel boat, 4th century AD (medieval copy)
Donkey mills at Pompeii
Oil press of Early (pre?) Roman type
Modern oil screw press following Roman conceptual innovation
stern mounted rudder
Roman turbine mill at Chemtou, Tunisia
Roman harvesting machine: overview
Roman harvesting machine: detail
Roman surgery tools
Glassware from Pompeii
Roman crank handle from Augusta Raurica, dating to no later than ca. 250 AD[6]
Technology Comment
Abacus, Roman Portable.
Alum The production of alum (KAl(SO4)2.12H2O) from alunite (KAl3(SO4)2.(OH)6) is archaeologically attested on the island Lesbos[7]. This site was abandoned in the 7th century but dates back at least to the 2nd century AD.
Amphitheatre See e.g. Colosseum.
Aqueduct, true arch Pont du Gard, Segovia etc
Arch, monumental
Bath, monumental public (Thermae) See e.g. Baths of Diocletian
Book (Codex) First mentioned by Martial in the 1st C. AD. Held many advantages over the scroll.
Brass The Romans had enough understanding of zinc to produce a brass denomination coinage; see sestertius.
Bridge, true arch See e.g. Roman bridge in Chaves or the Severan Bridge.
Bridge, segmental arch More than a dozen Roman bridges are known to feature segmental (=flat) arches. A prominent example was Trajan's bridge over the Danube, a lesser known the extant Limyra Bridge in Lycia
Bridge, pointed arch Possibly the earliest known bridge featuring a pointed arch is the 5-6th century AD Karamagara Bridge[8]
Cameos Probably a Hellenistic innovation e.g. Cup of the Ptolemies but taken up by the Emperors e.g. Gemma Augustea, Gemma Claudia etc.
Cast Iron Recently archaeologically detected in the Val Gabbia in northern Lombardy from the 5th and 6th centuries AD.[9] This technically interesting innovation appears to have had little economic impact. But archaeologists may have failed to recognize the distinctive slag, so the date and location of this innovation may be revised.


Pozzolana variety
Crank and connecting rod Found in several water-powered saw mills dating from the late 3rd (Hierapolis sawmill) to 6th century AD (at Ephesus respectively Gerasa).[2 ]
Crane, treadwheel
Dam, Arch[10] Currently best attested for the dam at Glanum, France dated ca. 20 BC.[11] The structure has entirely disappeared. Its existence attested from the cuts into the rock on either side to key in the dam wall, which was 14.7 metres high, 3.9m thick at base narrowing to 2.96m at the top. Earliest description of arch action in such types of dam by Procopius around 560 AD, the Dara Dam[12]
Dam, Arch-gravity Examples include curved dams at Orükaya[13], Çavdarhisar, both Turkey (and 2nd c.)[13]Kasserine Dam in Tunisia[14], and Puy Foradado Dam in Spain (2nd–3rd c.)[15 ]
Dam, Bridge The Band-i-Kaisar, constructed by Roman prisoners of war in Shustar, Persia, in the 3rd c. AD,[16] featured a weir combined with an arch bridge, a multifunctional hydraulic structure which subsequently spread throughout Iran.[17]
Dam, Buttress Attested in a number of Roman dams in Spain[15 ], like the 600 m long Consuegra Dam
Dam, Multiple Arch Buttress Esparragalejo Dam, Spain (1st c. AD) earliest known[18]
Dome, monumental See e.g. Pantheon.
Foot-powered loom Before 298 AD, with a hint the invention arose at Tarsus[19]
Flamethrower (Is this Roman? trad date 670 AD Greek Fire)
Flos Salis A product of salt evaporation ponds Dunaliella salina[20] used in the perfume industry (Pliny Nat. Hist. 31,90)
Force pump used in fire engine See image of pointable nozzle
Glass blowing This led to a number of innovations in the use of glass. Window glass is attested at Pompeii in AD 79. In the 2nd century AD [21] hanging glass oil lamps were introduced. These used floating wicks and by reducing self shading gave more lumens in a downwards direction. Cage cups (see photograph) are hypothesised as oil lamps.
Dichroic glass as in the Lycurgus Cup. [6] Note, this material attests otherwise unknown chemistry (or other way?) to generate nano-scale gold-silver particles.
Glass mirrors (Pliny the Elder Naturalis Historia 33,130)
Greenhouse cold frames (Pliny the Elder Naturalis Historia 19.64; Columella on Ag. 11.3.52)
Hydraulis A water organ. Later also the pneumatic organ.
Hushing Described by Pliny the Elder and confirmed at Dolaucothi and Las Médulas
Hydraulic mining Described by Pliny the Elder and confirmed at Dolaucothi and Las Médulas
Hydrometer Mentioned in a letter of Synesius
Hypocaust A floor and also wall heating system. Described by Vitruvius
Knife, multifunctional [7]
Lighthouses The best surviving example in the Tower of Hercules
Leather, Tanned The preservation of skins with vegetable tannins was a pre-Roman invention but not of the antiquity once supposed. (Tawing was far more ancient.) The Romans were responsible for spreading this technology into areas where it was previously unknown such as Britain and Qasr Ibrim on the Nile. In both places this technology was lost when the Romans withdrew.[22]
Mills M.J.T.Lewis presents good evidence that water powered vertical pounding machines came in by the middle of the 1st c. AD for fulling, grain hulling (Pliny Nat. Hist. 18,97) and ore crushing (archaeological evidence at Dolaucothi Gold Mines and Spain).
Grainmill, rotary. According to Moritz (p57) rotary grainmills were not known to the ancient Greeks but date from before 160 BC. Unlike reciprocating mills, rotary mills could be easily adapted to animal or water power. Lewis (1997) argues that the rotary grainmill dates to the 5th century BC in the western Mediterranean. Animal and water powered rotary mills came in the 3rd century BC.
Sawmill, water powered. Recorded by 370 AD. Attested in Ausonius's poem Mosella. Translated [8]"the Ruwer sends mill-stones swiftly round to grind the corn, And drives shrill saw-blades through smooth marble blocks". Recent archaeological evidence from Phrygia, Anatolia, now pushes back the date to the 3rd century AD and confirms the use of a crank in the sawmill.[23]
Shipmill, (Though small, the conventional term is "shipmill" not boat mill, probably because there was always a deck, and usually an enclosed superstructure, to keep the flour away from the damp.) where water wheels were attached to boats, was first recorded at Rome in 547 AD in Procopius of Caesarea's Gothic Wars (1.19.8-29) when Belisaurius was besieged there.
Watermill. Improvements upon earlier models. For the largest mill complex known see Barbegal
Mercury Gilding as in the Horses of San Marco
Newspaper, rudimentary See Acta Diurna.
Paddle wheel boats In de Rebus Bellicis (possibly only a paper invention).
Pewter Mentioned by Pliny the Elder (Naturalis Historia34,160-1). Surviving examples are mainly Romano-British of the 3rd and 4th centuries e.g.[9] and[10]. Roman pewter had a wide range of proportions of tin but proportions of 50%, 75% and 95% predominate (Beagrie 1989).
Pleasure lake An artificial reservoir, highly unusual in that it was meant for recreational rather than utilitarian purposes was created at Subiaco, Italy, for emperor Nero (54–68 AD). The dam remained the highest in the Roman Empire (50 m),[24] and in the world until its destruction in 1305.[25]
iron-bladed (A much older innovation (e.g. Bible; I Samuel 13,20-1) that became much more common in the Roman period)
wheeled (Pliny the Elder Naturalis Historia 18.171-3) (More important for the Middle Ages, than this era.)
Pottery, glossed i.e. Samian ware
Reaper An early harvesting machine: vallus (Pliny the Elder Naturalis Historia 18,296, Palladius 7.2.2-4 [11])
Sails, fore-and-aft rig Introduction of fore-and-aft rigs 1) the Lateen sail 2) the Spritsail, this last already attested in 2nd century BC in the northern Aegean Sea [26] Note: there is no evidence of any combination of fore and aft rigs with square sails on the same Roman ship.
Sails, Lateen Representations show lateen sails in the Mediterranean as early as the 2nd century AD. Both the quadrilateral and the triangular type were employed.[27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36]
Rudder, stern-mounted See image for something very close to being a sternpost rudder
Sausage, fermented dry (probably) See salami.
Screw press An innovation of about the mid 1st century AD[37]
Sewers See for example Cloaca Maxima
Soap, hard (sodium) First mentioned by Galen (earlier, potassium, soap being Celtic).
Spiral staircase Though first attested as early as the 5th century BC in Greek Selinunte, spiral staircases only become more widespread after their adoption in Trajan's column and the Column of Marcus Aurelius.
Stenography, a system of See Tironian notes.
Street map, early See Forma Urbis Romae (Severan Marble Plan), a carved marble ground plan of every architectural feature in ancient Rome.[38]
Sundial, portable See Theodosius of Bithynia
Surgical instruments, various
Tooth implants, iron See [12]
Towpath e.g. beside the Danube, see the "road" in Trajan's bridge
Tunnels Excavated from both ends simultaneously. The longest known is the 5.6-kilometre (3.5 mi) drain of the Fucine lake
Vehicles, one wheeled Solely attested by a Latin word in 4th C. AD Scriptores Historiae Augustae Heliogabalus 29. As this is fiction, the evidence dates to its time of writing.
Wood veneer Pliny Nat. Hist. 16.231-2

See also


Selected works and writers

Other lists


  1. ^ a b Greene 2000, p. 39
  2. ^ a b Ritti, Grewe & Kessener 2007, p. 161
  3. ^ For a discussion on the importance of energy sources as a constraint on all pre-industrial economies see E.A.Wrigley 2002 'The Quest for the Industrial Revolution' Proceedings of the British Academy 121 , 147-170 available free online, enter '2002 lecture' in search at [1]/
  4. ^ Michael Matheus: "Mittelalterliche Hafenkräne," in: Uta Lindgren (ed.): Europäische Technik im Mittelalter. 800-1400, Berlin 2001 (4th ed.), pp. 345-48 (345)
  5. ^ J. Crow 2007 "Earth, walls and water in Late Antique Constantinople" in Technology in Transition AD 300-650 in ed. L.Lavan, E.Zanini & A. Sarantis Brill, Leiden
  6. ^ Laur-Belart 1988, p. 51–52, 56, fig. 42
  7. ^ A. Archontidou 2005 Un atelier de preparation de l'alun a partir de l'alunite dans l'isle de Lesbos in L'alun de Mediterranee ed P.Borgard et al.
  8. ^ Galliazzo 1995, p. 92
  9. ^ Giannichedda 2007 "Metal production in Late Antiquity" in Technology in Transition AD 300-650 ed L. Lavan E.Zanini & A. Sarantis Brill, Leiden; p200
  10. ^ Smith 1971, pp. 33-35; Schnitter 1978, p. 31; Schnitter 1987a, p. 12; Schnitter 1987c, p. 80; Hodge 1992, p. 82, table 39; Hodge 2000, p. 332, fn. 2
  11. ^ S. Agusta-Boularot et J-l. Paillet 1997 "le Barrage et l'Aqueduc occidental de Glanum: le premier barrage-vout de l'historire des techniques?" Revue Archeologiquepp27-78
  12. ^ Schnitter 1978, p. 32; Schnitter 1987a, p. 13; Schnitter 1987c, p. 80; Hodge 1992, p. 92; Hodge 2000, p. 332, fn. 2
  13. ^ a b Schnitter 1987a, p. 12; James & Chanson 2002
  14. ^ Smith 1971, pp. 35f.; James & Chanson 2002
  15. ^ a b Arenillas & Castillo 2003
  16. ^ Schnitter 1987a, p. 13; Hodge 2000, pp. 337f.
  17. ^ Vogel 1987, p. 50
  18. ^ Schnitter 1978, p. 29; Schnitter 1987b, pp. 60, table 1, 62; James & Chanson 2002; Arenillas & Castillo 2003
  19. ^ D.L.Carroll Dating the Foot-powered loom: the Coptic evidence American Journal of Archaeology 1985 vol. 89; 168-73
  20. ^ I. Longhurst 2007 Ambix 54.3 p299-304 The identity of Pliny's Flos salis and Roman Perfume
  21. ^ C-H Wunderlich "Light and economy: an essay about the economy of pre-historic and ancient lamps" in Nouveautes lychnologiques 2003
  22. ^ C. van Driel-Murray Ancient skin processing and the impact of Rome on tanning technology in Le Travail du cuir de la prehistoire 2002 Antibes
  23. ^ Ritti, Grewe & Kessener 2007, p. 154
  24. ^ Smith 1970, pp. 60f.; Smith 1971, p. 26
  25. ^ Hodge 1992, p. 87
  26. ^ Casson, Lionel (1995). Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World. The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-5130-0, Appendix
  27. ^ Casson 1995, pp. 243–245
  28. ^ Casson 1954
  29. ^ White 1978, p. 255
  30. ^ Campbell 1995, pp. 8–11
  31. ^ Basch 2001, p. 63–64
  32. ^ Makris 2002, p. 96
  33. ^ Friedman & Zoroglu 2006, pp. 113–114
  34. ^ Pryor & Jeffreys 2006, pp. 153–161
  35. ^ Castro et al. 2008, pp. 1–2
  36. ^ Whitewright 2009
  37. ^ H Schneider Technology in The Cambridge Economic History of the Greco-Roman World 2007; p157 CUP
  38. ^ Stanford University: Forma Urbis Romae

Further reading

Current state of research

  • Wilson, Andrew (2002), "Machines, Power and the Ancient Economy", The Journal of Roman Studies 92: 1–32  
  • Greene, Kevin (2000), "Technological Innovation and Economic Progress in the Ancient World: M.I. Finley Re-Considered", The Economic History Review 53 (1): 29–59  

General history of inventions

  • Derry, Thomas Kingston and Trevor I. Williams. A Short History of Technology: From the Earliest Times to A.D. 1900. New York : Dover Publications, 1993
  • Williams, Trevor I. A History of Invention From Stone Axes to Silicon Chips. New York, New York, Facts on File, 2000

Infrastructure and transport


  • Neil Beagrie, "The Romano-British Pewter Industry", Britannia, Vol. 20 (1989), pp. 169–91


  • Lewis, M.J.T., 1997, Millstone and Hammer, University of Hull Press
  • Moritz, L.A., 1958, Grainmills and Flour in Classical Antiquity, Oxford
  • Ritti, Tullia; Grewe, Klaus; Kessener, Paul (2007), "A Relief of a Water-powered Stone Saw Mill on a Sarcophagus at Hierapolis and its Implications", Journal of Roman Archaeology 20: 138–163  


  • Oliver Davies, "Roman Mines in Europe", Clarendon Press (Oxford), 1935.
  • Jones G. D. B., I. J. Blakey, and E. C. F. MacPherson, "Dolaucothi: the Roman aqueduct," Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies 19 (1960): 71-84 and plates III-V.
  • Lewis, P. R. and G. D. B. Jones, "The Dolaucothi gold mines, I: the surface evidence," The Antiquaries Journal, 49, no. 2 (1969): 244-72.
  • Lewis, P. R. and G. D. B. Jones, "Roman gold-mining in north-west Spain," Journal of Roman Studies 60 (1970): 169-85.
  • Lewis, P. R., "The Ogofau Roman gold mines at Dolaucothi," The National Trust Year Book 1976-77 (1977).
  • Barry C. Burnham, "Roman Mining at Dolaucothi: the Implications of the 1991-3 Excavations near the Carreg Pumsaint", Britannia 28 (1997), 325-336
  • A.H.V. Smith, "Provenance of Coals from Roman Sites in England and Wales", Britannia, Vol. 28 (1997), pp. 297–324


  • Basch, Lucien (2001), "La voile latine, son origine, son évolution et ses parentés arabes", in Tzalas, H., Tropis VI, 6th International Symposium on Ship Construction in Antiquity, Lamia 1996 proceedings, Athens: Hellenic Institute for the Preservation of Nautical Tradition, pp. 55–85  
  • Campbell, I.C. (1995), "The Lateen Sail in World History", Journal of World History 6 (1): 1–23,  
  • Casson, Lionel (1954), "The Sails of the Ancient Mariner", Archaeology 7 (4): 214–219  
  • Casson, Lionel (1995), Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World, Johns Hopkins University Press, ISBN 0801851300  
  • Castro, F.; Fonseca, N.; Vacas, T.; Ciciliot, F. (2008), "A Quantitative Look at Mediterranean Lateen- and Square-Rigged Ships (Part 1)", The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 37 (2): 347–359, doi:10.1111/j.1095-9270.2008.00183.x  
  • Friedman, Zaraza; Zoroglu, Levent (2006), "Kelenderis Ship. Square or Lateen Sail?", The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 35 (1): 108–116, doi:10.1111/j.1095-9270.2006.00091.x  
  • Makris, George (2002), "Ships", in Laiou, Angeliki E, The Economic History of Byzantium. From the Seventh through the Fifteenth Century, 2, Dumbarton Oaks, pp. 89–99, ISBN 0-88402-288-9  
  • Pomey, Patrice (2006), "The Kelenderis Ship: A Lateen Sail", The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 35 (2): 326–335, doi:10.1111/j.1095-9270.2006.00111.x  
  • Pryor, John H.; Jeffreys, Elizabeth M. (2006), The Age of the ΔΡΟΜΩΝ: The Byzantine Navy ca. 500–1204, Brill Academic Publishers, ISBN 978-9004151970  
  • White, Lynn (1978), "The Diffusion of the Lateen Sail", Medieval Religion and Technology. Collected Essays, University of California Press, pp. 255–260, ISBN 0-520-03566-6  
  • Whitewright, Julian (2009), "The Mediterranean Lateen Sail in Late Antiquity", The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 38 (1): 97–104, doi:10.1111/j.1095-9270.2008.00213.x  

Overview of ancient technology

  • Drachmann, A. G., Mechanical Technology of Greek and Roman Antiquity, Lubrecht & Cramer Ltd, 1963 ISBN 0934454612
  • Hodges, Henry., Technology in the Ancient World, London: The Penguin Press, 1970
  • Landels, J.G., Engineering in the Ancient World, University of California Press, 1978
  • White, K.D., Greek and Roman Technology, Cornell University Press, 1984


  • Toby, A.Steven "Another look at the Copenhagen Sarcophagus", International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 1974 vol.3.2: 205-211

Water supply

External links

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