Talk:Roman roads

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


h, especially considering the state of most of the rest of the Ancient Rome articles. Great work! -Silence 13:47, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

I Agree! Great Job!

I too concur. However I did notice a mistake. The section of the article on the construction method of the roads stated that the fossa were typically 15 feet below the surface. I believe that is incorrect. The fossa were typically 2-6 feet below the surface, but as the article was correct in saying that they were often dug deeper. If I was incorrect in my belief about the depth of the fossa then I ask that you post the correction as well as the url of a credible website where the information can be found on this discussion page. Seeing as I posted this to correct wikipedia please do not post it as the credible website. My name in a simple code is olner dcamdlano u are a fat poo poo wanker

A panel in Lyon[edit]

Thought I would contribute the contents of this panel found on the side of a road in Lyon:

Place Morel: ...This square is a very ancient junction crossed in Roman times by the German Way, now Montée des Carmélites. The German Way was one of the five great highways - Aquitaine, Narbonne, Rhine, Ocean and Alps - created by Emperor Augustus' son-in-law Agrippa a little over 2000 years ago. Lugdunum - modern Lyon - was then the centre of of Gallo-Roman Civilisation

this was a fantastic, helpful article!! (and the original French)

La place, très ancien carrefour, était traversée par la voie romaine de Germanie, deveue aujourd'hui montée des Carmélites. Cette voie était l'un des cinq grands axes (Aquitaine, Narbonnaise, du Rhin, de l'Océan, des Alpes) créés par Agrippa, gendre de l'empereur romain Auguste, il y a un peu plus de 2 000 ans. Lugdunm était alors le centre de la civilisation gallo-romaine.

I'd incorporate this info but don't know enough of the background, nor the roman names of these 5 roads. Looks like Via Aquitania exists already. Stevage 16:34, 5 August 2006 (UTC)


The article, similar to the general "road" article, does not actually say how or why a road is useful. It may be of use to the article to add detail of this.

There are just small mentions such as:

"The Roman roads were essential for the growth of their empire, by enabling them to move armies."

Are armies not able to move without roads? What makes it so difficult to simply walk on wild grassland?

The legions made good time on them

Any details on how fast, in particular by comparison to non road transportation, the legions or anything else could travel on them, would be useful.

Peoplesunionpro 02:21, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

Travel times?[edit]

I'm curious about this passage: "Carts could travel about 8 miles per day, pedestrians a little more, and so each mansio was about 15 to 18 miles from the next one." First, does this mean to say that mansiones were placed two days' travel apart? This seems counterintuitive; perhaps it could be spelled out a little better? Were travelers expected to make camp in between?

Second, doesn't 8 miles/day seem awfully low? Normal walking speed is three or four miles an hour. The Encyclopedia Britannia says "Speed of travel ranged from a low of about 15 miles per day for freight vehicles to 75 miles per day by speedy post drivers." (That would make the positioning of the mansiones more sensical, too.)

The Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome I have here (Adkins & Adkins) puts the mansiones an average of 20 to 30 miles apart, and provides a top speed for couriers of over 120 miles per day. --Jere7my 07:31, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Units of measurement[edit]

I noticed that the units were converted from imperial to metric. Shouldn't the measurements include both systems? 03:24, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

I'd have to say no. The Imperial system isn't used in the area where the Roman road system exists. Those places all use SI units. There's no reason here to cater to us silly Americans who can't be bothered to learn metrics.—Elipongo (Talk|contribs) 07:53, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
I'd have to say it should be appropriate since no roman measured their distances in metric they used miles even if they were a slightly different mile than we use today. Also they still use miles for measurement in the UK which is a location where romans built roads. When you consider that the vast majority of English speakers use miles as their system of measurement perhaps it is appropriate to be included. Most wiki pages I've seen will include both systems of measurement. Also according to the Wikipedia manual of styles both systems of measurement should be in both systems. --Drewder (talk) 20:14, 30 November 2013 (UTC)--Drewder (talk) 20:14, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

Roman Legions planted an ash tree at every second mile?[edit]

There is a claim in article Two Mile Ash that it was a Roman custom to plant an ash tree every two miles. Does anyone have a citation to support this assertion? --Concrete Cowboy --Concrete Cowboy 16:47, 6 June 2007 (UTC)


Hello. I'm one of the original main contributors to this article. I'm terribly sorry guys, but at the time I did not know enough to put refs in and subsequent contributors seem to have followed my bad example. We are getting almost medieval in that practice. For the most part this is good material and there are penty of refs out there. It needs to be Googled point by point. It is not perfect; there are some errors. Preferably but not necessarily a person with a Latin background would be very useful. Meanwhile I know there is a tag on there and there should be, but do not delete unless you have investigated, OK? And, the investigation could be just a reasonably careful Internet check. The article needs a Notes section and line-item notes. Maybe you could provide one or two without undue strain. Thanks.Dave (talk) 10:36, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

Modern reconstruction and new map[edit]

I added "(Ceausescu era reconstruction, Romania)" to the picture "Potaissa Napoca Milarium". This Milarium is clearly a modern reconstruction. One cannot even judge if there is anything original in it. Knowing Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu's personal obsession with things DacoRoman, for example he personally oredered the name of the ancient city of Cluj to be changed to Cluj-Napoca, Wikipedia editors must be careful when showing Ceausescu era Romanian archeological restorations. The Charter of Venice states: "The process of restoration... It must stop at the point where conjecture begins,...."

The map "The Roman Empire in the time of Hadrian (ruled 117-38AD)...etc." appears to be a fine work. The problem I am seeing from a Wikipedia NO ORIGINAL RESEARCH policy point of view is that it was apparently recently created by two Wikipedia contributors: Andrea Nacu who appears to be a student and a very erudite, albeit, unknown editor EraNavigator. I believe for the sake of the state of the art that Wikipedia should not have been used as a place for the first publication of this map. Apparently it has not been published in scientific journals, has not been peer reviewed, criticized, evaluated. This greatly reduces its credibility. It would have been more fortuitous to make an effort at having it published by proper forums, especially if the authors are affiliated with some University as they appear to be.

Eravian (talk) 21:41, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

in the quote..[edit]

in a quote of the Antonine Itinenary

"There is hardly a district which we might expect a Roman official to be sent to, on service either civil or military, where we do not înd them."

What does this sentence mean? Plinio1 (talk) 10:13, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

'find' a road ... need to ind -> find ... J. D. Redding 13:43, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

Style Correction Needed[edit]

Quote: "The official bodies which first succeeded the censors in the care of the streets and roads were two in number." How else could they be two? In color? In flavor? "Two in number" is a needless redundancy. (talk) 17:37, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

New lead[edit]

WP:LEAD says the title of the article should normally appear in the first sentence, see also where [1] in that sentence. The new version removes the title entirely from the lead. It also changes cited text to an extent that the sources may no longer back up the statements they are citing. This isn't that terrible since the sources are pretty dreadful, and definitely need replacing. Dougweller (talk) 16:42, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

Hi, given that I went to some trouble to try to incorporate parts and refs of the present version in my re-write of this opening section, in order to respect the author's (childish) efforts, I feel disgusted that he/she has summarily expunged it and replaced it with their original. The opening is well below the erudite standard of the main text. So we now again have sentences like, "The Roman roads were roads built by the Roman empire". If you all prefer this sort of infantile nonsense, fine. Clearly I stepped on a child's toes and rather than use even part of what I produced, the child reverted the work in entirety. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mygodfrey (talkcontribs) 12:49, 17 November 2010 (UTC)

If you aren't going to sign with tildes, please don't revert sinebot. You need to read WP:NPA. When I saw you edit I posted both here and on your talk page. After a while, with no response, I reverted it because it is against our MOS. I didn't write any of it. By all means do improve it, but follow WP:LEAD. And I think the way you did it caused problems with the referencing, as I've said above. I'll see what I can do. Dougweller (talk) 13:20, 17 November 2010 (UTC)


The page is a bit of a mess. The structure is poor, and the sourcing is worse. Far too much reliance on an 1890 dictionary (cited 50 times) a Cyclopedia of American Horticulture dating 1900, etc - about references dating no later than 1902, about 8 modern ones. And the lead is a mess, I agree. It probably goes into too much detail and it really should not need citations, as it should be based on cited material in the main article. Anyone want to have a go at structure? Eg: Lead

History/Development of Roman roads


Construction methods

Road system

I don't know where to put etymology

This is just a very rough stab and I'm not particularly happy with it, but I'm hesitant to improve it without a better structure. Dougweller (talk) 16:55, 17 November 2010 (UTC)


Given the very heavy reliance on sources written over a century ago, I've tagged this as outdated. See my comments above. Dougweller (talk) 15:46, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

The Romans "exclusively rediscovered" concrete?[edit]

See under Via munita: "The final steps utilized concrete, which the Romans had exclusively rediscovered". From the history section of the concrete article, plus my prior knowledge, the Romans discovered concrete - not rediscovered it. And what's this "exclusively" part? Allens (talk) 12:33, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

I have no idea what "exclusively" is supposed to mean here. It makes no sense with "rediscovered," and only slightly more sense with "discovered." If you have RS on Roman concrete, you should go ahead and fix this. Cynwolfe (talk) 13:11, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
Hmm... I have a copy of L. Sprague de Camp's Ancient Engineers that IIRC talks about this, but more recent archeological backing would be nice. Will try to see about this (after creating an exam... sigh.) Allens (talk) 13:25, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
OK, fixed with citation. Allens (talk) 14:41, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

true, engineers still need to discover the reality of engineering roads accurately. For instance, soft clay within hard cement rock. I discovered cetementary rock road in a diamond puzzle pattern. I thought to myself what if they put brasilian cement tile within the crescent shaped pattern. You would get a very thin layered road which lasts forever basically. The diamond shape puzzle would hold the structured together unless an earthquake comes around. It would be hard unless you had a machine to do this stuff. I thought of the idea through realization of tile making as well. Tiles have the cement hold the tile in place within a house. Why not do that outside? For a road for instance. It would be flat and smooth, but theres one problem, its the rain and weather. So it just needs to be put on like a layer of rocks and clay like what the romans did. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Asfd666 (talkcontribs) 14:43, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

Travel organization[edit]

There's a mention of a private postal organization: "Private mail of the well-to-do was carried by tabellarii, an organization of slaves available for a price.". No cite, though. Any more info available? One of the strange omissions of the Roman Empire is that, despite the road system, there don't seem to have been private organizations with inter-city reach. No big stagecoach lines, freight lines, etc. The Romans never invented the corporation as a general-purpose form of business organization. So more info about the tabellarii would be useful. --John Nagle (talk) 20:21, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

The tabellarii were formally trained slaves or ex-slaves. Eventually they were organised into an official part of the imperial administration, using the official mansiones and mutationes (relay stations for change of horses) as they went. The system was available to private organisations in Rome with financial interests in the provinces (tax farmers), and individuals willing to pay, but this was regarded as an abuse and suppressed from time to time. It's well worth an article, or at least a section of its own in their successors' article, the "heavy hauliers" of the Cursus publicus, but I haven't the time or the knowledge. --Old Moonraker (talk) 08:34, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was No move. Cúchullain t/c 19:41, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

– Whilst yes multiple Roman roads did exist, this article is on the subject of what a Roman road is. Again, with historic road, the subject is meant to be about what one is. Maybe this article should either be split or moved to either Historic road or List of Historic roads. Simply south...... always punctual, no matter how late for just 6 years 16:38, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

  • Oppose move: "Roman roads" is a straightforward category, virtually an enclosed topic within the scholarship. Roads were essential to the Roman economy and military, and Roman road surveying, structures etc are dealt with by many specialist sources. The article as it stands is by no means complete. If the list of roads becomes too long, we can split it off. But a split at this time seems premature. Haploidavey (talk) 18:13, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I'm afraid I don't understand the rationale well enough even to argue against it, nor do I see what it has to do with Historic roads. As Davey points out, the list of Roman roads could be spun off into List of Roman roads, but why? Cynwolfe (talk)
I would also point out that various kinds of Roman roads are discussed, so the plural title is accurate as well as idiomatic English. Support the procedural close. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:42, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
There are various types of plants, and it is a plant. There are various types of animals, paths, washing machines, stars etc etc etc. Simply south...... always punctual, no matter how late for just 6 years 20:25, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Procedural close this should be two separate nominations. The rationale shows no linkage between the two articles under consideration -- (talk) 03:33, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Is there a reason these two shouldn't just be quickly moved to Roman road and Historic road per WP:PLURAL? --BDD (talk) 17:00, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
    • Yes: the exception Articles on groups or classes of specific things. I think I agree with the proposed move of Historic roads to List of historic roads below, though. "Roads in ancient Rome" won't do because it's ambiguous as to whether you mean ancient Rome the city, or "ancient Rome" as a political entity somewhat synonymous with "Roman Empire": "Roman roads" exist in Britain, for instance. "Religion in ancient Rome" isn't named "Ancient Roman religion" because it covers various religions other than the Romans' own so-called "religion of Numa": in our title, it means "religion" in general, but an equivalent book title would be something like "The Religions of Ancient Rome". "Roman road system" might be OK, though if you review the article, even then it might be more precise to refer to "Roman road systems." Most articles with a singular title also have (or easily could have) a singular topic sentence; if it's hard to write a topic sentence in the singular, it may be because the article deals with a class or group. Although "Roman road system" is a reasonable title, it does seem contrary to the spirit of WP:UCN to change a commonly understood, more concise title (and the most likely search term) to a more complicated title. The goal of consistency, like being both concise and precise, is to put readers first: what's easiest to find and understand? Cynwolfe (talk) 23:44, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Support Roman road system - Happily singular like Inca road system. Marcus Qwertyus 04:41, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Support, per WP:PLURAL and BDD. Kauffner (talk) 15:24, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
  • As the IP mentioned, this technically contains two separate nominations. Roman roads should be moved to Roman road system for consistency, or Roads in ancient Rome (as per Religion in ancient Rome). Historic roads should be moved to List of historic roads, to disambiguate it from History of road transport. Both articles cover the same topic, but the former is written as a list.--SGCM (talk) 00:40, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose move: Basing on Article Title Guidelines "Roman roads" is clearly suitable in being concise and recognizable, and is superior as more natural as shown by larger number of google hits. Most importantly this title is more precise in accurately indicating the topical scope of the content. The "Roman Road" singular generic form can be a metaphor of easy passage similar to "Royal Road" and would not cover that the content is multiples and goes beyond just the road. The "Roman Road System" seems roughly equal but not superior in precision and less consistent because the article content does not present a system nature focusing to the interaction between parts or an overarching organization approach and structure intent of the whole -- factually they seem individually constructed over centuries for individual intents. The "Historical Roads" seems heavily inappropriate as too large and ill-formed a scope as to whether that is roads of particular significance to past events or roads that no longer exist -- and if all road titles were merged under that title it would be unmanageably large to read. Markbassett (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 17:02, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

An actual date would be helpful[edit]

"Roman roads (in Latin, viae - singular via) were vital to the maintenance and development of the Roman state, and were built from about 500 BC through the expansion and consolidation of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire.[1]" This leaves me wanting an actual date, even approximate for when the Romans stopped building these roads. "the expansion and consolidation of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire" is way too vague. At least give a century, please, so the lede is more informative. The article Roman empire gives 476CE for the end of Roman authority over the western empire, so how about "Roman roads (in Latin, viae - singular via) were vital to the maintenance and development of the Roman state, and were built from about 500 BC through the expansion and consolidation of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire,[1] in the late 5th century CE." Or did the Eastern Roman Empire keep building "Roman Roads?" Seems unlikely that Constantinople would have called them "Roman Roads" on into the 15th century CE. It should not be that hard to find archeological studies of when various Roman roads in Europe were built. Did Romanized towns in Britain or elsewhere go on building them after the fall of Rome, or did Germans or others build their own roads in the Roman style? Seems very unlikely. Edison (talk) 13:29, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

The significant question is I think not when did they stop building them but when did they stop maintaining them. Construction mostly followed soon after conquest and probably relatively little was added later. In Britain they were I think already under-maintained before the Romans left, and though still used were in an increasingly bad condition, but in Italy many remained fairly well-repaired until modern times, & much of the Spaccanapoli (street) in Naples looks just like Pompeii at ground level, as does the Via Appia Antiqua in Rome, though this may be rather artificial. By the late Roman period populations seem to have been falling & the finances falling apart and I think repairing what they already had was probably their only ambition. But a section, or even an article, on post-Roman use of Roman roads would be a good addition. We don't have much on maintenance either, which is really the key to any road system. Johnbod (talk) 13:56, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
This is one of the most useful replies I've ever seen on Wikipedia. Would just add that I expect road maintenance faltered during the Crisis of the Third Century (when for instance some mining operations were disrupted), but may have revived in the fourth, perhaps along with other attempts by Diocletian et al. to prop up the whole thing. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:49, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
I'm sure that's true. Thanks, although as a response to a request for specific information my comments are a bit of a dud! In Britain, as in most of the Empire AFAIK, many or most Roman road routes remain in use, & have been since they were built. As an example, the recently-found Anglo-Saxon Staffordshire Hoard was found 150 yards or so off Watling Street, the medieval name for this road, which was in fact a pre-Roman route done up by the Romans, now part of the A5 road (Great Britain), and which in the 9th century formed a political border. Heaven knows what state it was in at that point; there comes a point when a half-paved road is harder to travel on than a path on natural ground, but at least following the route would take you where you needed to go. Later most paving was I think taken away as building material or for paving or flooring elsewhere and the roads became essentially big paths. I see Roman roads in Britain has more detail on the post-Roman history, & also says "Most of the known network was complete by 180 AD." which sounds about right. Johnbod (talk) 17:13, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Many years ago I read a study of how long it took to travel over some long stated distance in Europe while the Romans managed the roads, and if a wheeled vehicle could make the journey in 7 days in the third century, then a few centuries later the voyage could only be made on horseback (bridges and roadways washed out) and it took multiples of the original time, and required armed escort to avoid being robbed, such that a voyage by coastal sea vessel was preferable. I don't have the source. There must be one or a few named roads or major segments between towns which are candidates for the "last one built" of some category, though a deluxe stone paved road might have replaced a gravel road which replaced a dirt road which replaced a foot path. The article and other sources state that building or rebuilding a road was a work for which politicians took credit by putting up monuments, so there might be some historical sources for the demise of roadbuilding. Edison (talk) 22:14, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

"Roman Road"[edit]

I was expecting to see something on the "Roman Road" to evangelism, or Christian proselytism. It's not there. In any case, if the "Roman Road" were included in this list, it should be marked as a disambiguation article that separates itself from the literal Roman roads. (talk) 17:59, 10 February 2014 (UTC)