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WordMan
09-06-2005, 11:07 AM
Anyone else catch this? I was channel surfing and happened upon it, and I thought it was fascinating. I knew most of the basics in terms of the various engineering feats, but really appreciated the computer simulations showing them in their "original setting" or as they "originally appeared." I also enjoyed the historical context - different emperors commissioning works for ego or to serve the populace and what happened to both the emperors and the works.

Good stuff - if anyone can comment on the scholarship I would appreciate it.

Kozmik
09-06-2005, 11:27 AM
The computer simulations were simply amazing, especially the one from the perspective of the water traveling down the aqueducts. You got a good picture of how everything worked. But there are many unanswered questions such as how, after 2,000 years, can the original Roman roads still be in existence, while American roads need to be repaired every year. I wish they went into what we can learn from Rome.

It was a first-rate documentary, though I wish Indira Verma had got more screen time.

Evil Captor
09-06-2005, 12:16 PM
I watched it. It had never occurred to me that the Roman sense of superiority was in part due to the fact that they were literally cleaner than everyone else. Also, instead of building huge piles of useless stone like the Egyptians and others did, the Romans actually built useful things. No wonder the Mediterranean world was their bitch for so long. (Well, that and all the state-sponsored torture, slavery and murder.)

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
09-06-2005, 02:39 PM
After seeing the segment about the aqueducts, it made me sad to think of the day, sometime in the 500s, when the water supply ended, the lines having been cut by whatever barbarian king was attacking at the time. They say the Fall Of Rome wasn't a single, identifiable event? I beg to differ, it was the hour and day when the fountains stopped working and there was no longer any water for the baths.

Driver8
09-06-2005, 02:57 PM
But there are many unanswered questions such as how, after 2,000 years, can the original Roman roads still be in existence, while American roads need to be repaired every year.

To be fair, the roads today serve very different needs than the Roman roads, and subsequently are build differently. I would be very surprised if you could cruise about in your Honda Civic at 75mph on an ancient Roman road ;)

WordMan
09-06-2005, 03:22 PM
Does anyone know if this will be available on DVD or the best way to find out if I don't know the exact name?

WordMan
09-06-2005, 03:25 PM
Well - that was easy. I found it listed right here (http://store.aetv.com/html/cat_prod_listing/index.jhtml?id=cat1530002); apparently it is coming to DVD on Oct 18th or so...

E-Sabbath
09-06-2005, 03:29 PM
Odd thing of the day: Peter Weller as an expert?

That was Robocop, right? My eyes weren't bugging on me?

HPL
09-06-2005, 03:56 PM
I saw it. I though the stuff about the colluseam, particulary the naval battles, was really cool.

What really suprised me was when they said that using the same tools, we wouldn't be able to do the same things. Rather disturbing that we can't do things people from 2000 years ago could.

WordMan
09-06-2005, 03:56 PM
E-Sabbath - Oh YEAH!! I completely forgot about that - it was him!

I freaked a little, too - actor and I know he is an accomplished piano player - but now an antiquities scholar at Syracuse? Kinda raised my curiosity level.

That's what I get for watching too late at night after a big Labor Day BBQ...

Wolfian
09-06-2005, 05:09 PM
As an alum of I can tell you that Robocop does teach a course on Rome in the movies in SU. Sorry I missed the show, it sounds interesting.

Hugh Jass
09-06-2005, 09:41 PM
Rather disturbing that we can't do things people from 2000 years ago could.


I thought this was an acknowledgement of the fact that slave and forced labor were the primary drivers of the accomplishment, not a matter of technical know-how.

BoringDad
09-06-2005, 10:06 PM
But there are many unanswered questions such as how, after 2,000 years, can the original Roman roads still be in existence, while American roads need to be repaired every year. I wish they went into what we can learn from Rome.
Driver8 is correct that modern roads serve different needs than Roman roads. Also, the majority of Roman roads are in much milder climates than the roads in a large portion of the US.

That being said, we COULD build roads today that would last for 100 years or more. We know how. We just choose not to because, lacking slave labor, the roads would be too expensive.

Gorsnak
09-06-2005, 10:30 PM
Drive big rigs over Roman roads and you'll need to repair those every year too.

Trunk
09-07-2005, 06:41 AM
What's funny about the roads is that we still use, basically, the same technique today (at least as far as my knowledge extends).

After digging out where a modern road goes, the first thing that goes down is something called "crush and run". It comes in different "grades", but is basically a combination of sand (more like stone dust) and stone. It looks just like the stuff they showed the Romans put down. Now, whether that's because the computer images were actually based on modern day crush and run, or because modern day crush and run is based on what we know of the Romans, I couldn't say.

But, above the crush and run is a layer of finer sand, then the roads go down.

If you've ever seen a patio or a good walkway built by real stone masons, it's almost exactly what the romans did. . .fine crush and run, stone dust, stone.

I really don't understand why the Romans couldn't make a curve though. They must have seen the utility of that.

smiling bandit
09-07-2005, 09:14 AM
I really don't understand why the Romans couldn't make a curve though. They must have seen the utility of that.

Not really. The only place Romans liked curves was on (a) their wimminfolk, and (b) their arches. They were very angular in their architecture for the most part, even with arches and domes.



Well, that and all the state-sponsored torture, slavery and murder.)

IMHO, this was not a major part of the reason it lasted. Rome was a remarkable fair and just society, at least according to the standards of its time. The elast lawful elements were probably its extreme upper classes, but they largely confined their depredations to each other. Now, they did use wars to conquer and for conquest, but there is and was nothing unusual about that.

BoringDad
09-07-2005, 10:16 AM
But, above the crush and run is a layer of finer sand, then the roads go down. I have never seen sand put down before concrete on a road. Could be regional variations in design.
I really don't understand why the Romans couldn't make a curve though. They must have seen the utility of that.Why would they need curves? If you are on a road, you are heading towards Rome or away from Rome. The straighter the line the shorter the path.

Trunk
09-07-2005, 10:21 AM
I have never seen sand put down before concrete on a road. Could be regional variations in design.
I didn't mean sand. More like stone dust, but without the bigger stones that are in crush and run.


Why would they need curves? If you are on a road, you are heading towards Rome or away from Rome. The straighter the line the shorter the path.
For the same reason we need curves today. Sometimes going around something is easier than going through it. I'm not suggesting they go making curves through a flat field for the fun of it.

It's certainly not as difficult when you have your carriages moving at walking to navigate a sharper turn, but it's not like a "curve" is some engineering marvel either.

Evil Captor
09-09-2005, 08:39 PM
Not really. The only place Romans liked curves was on (a) their wimminfolk, and (b) their arches. They were very angular in their architecture for the most part, even with arches and domes.





IMHO, this was not a major part of the reason it lasted. Rome was a remarkable fair and just society, at least according to the standards of its time. The elast lawful elements were probably its extreme upper classes, but they largely confined their depredations to each other. Now, they did use wars to conquer and for conquest, but there is and was nothing unusual about that.

One of their favored forms of execution was crucifixion was it not? Have you read descriptions of how it works? REALLY nasty stuff. A torture murder that took hours. I agree that other societies of the time were also vicious by our standards, but that doesn't lessen the viciousness of the Romans.

BoringDad
09-10-2005, 07:39 AM
I didn't mean sand. More like stone dust, but without the bigger stones that are in crush and run.I have also never seen this, and can think of no reason for it to be placed under a concrete or asphalt road. But, like I said, it could be a regional variation. Engineering is more art than science in cases like that.


For the same reason we need curves today. Sometimes going around something is easier than going through it. I'm not suggesting they go making curves through a flat field for the fun of it. Ah, but the the Romans were master of spectacle. Roads were more than places to send the army, they were monuments to Rome. Easier? Bah! They spat upon easier! Straight roads for the glory of Rome! Barabarians can make roads curving around mountains. It takes Romans to break through a mountain!

EnderWay
09-10-2005, 09:07 AM
Great Show!

IIRC the show stated that the reson for the straigh roads was so that their
armys could get to another city quickly, and crush a revolt!

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