Talk:Roman technology

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Former good article nominee Roman technology was a Engineering and technology good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
December 17, 2009 Good article nominee Not listed
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Hi Iglonhurst, "I don't believe it" really isn't going to measure up to any standard of responsible editing I'm aware of. Nor, for that matter, is "I'm taking an inference of the tone of this statement based on my personal prejudices." I've not reinstated the texts you found offensive -- I'll leave that to your thoughtful discretion. I would urge you, if for nothing other than peace of mind, to treat an extraordinarily well-written and concise article with the respect the work involved in creating it deserves.

With regard to the unnamed contributor, the statement in the article seems very straightforward -- the concept of the arch as a piece of structural engineering has not been improved upon until modern times, and even then only marginally West Coast Gordo (talk) 04:32, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

Iglonghurst 09:26, 20 October 2006 (UTC) has taken out the following section because I do not believe a word of it

For example, like pie stuffed bird and oca, Roman commerce was aware of the use of barrels by the Gauls for a long time, but they never integrated this technology, using instead the more fragile and small amphora. Barrels were eventually used in parts of the empire that had cheap and abundant wood to make them and the wider town and city alleys needed to make them efficient. By the time the knowledge on barrel-making crept into the empire, most of the older city roads and such things as warehouse entrances had been built up to handle the much smaller amphora. There simply was no physical room in the older urban areas to let the larger and unproven barrels through. There was usually enough trained slave labor around to carry each small amphora by hand, through the labyrinth of alleys, small doors, and stairs. Because 1) barrels leave less archaeology so the record is biased 2) the cheaper amphorae are better for one way trips 3) you can get a barrel down any street that a donkey, carrying amphorae, will go 4) soft woods make bad barrels so the timber constraint is quite severe & amphorae were used long after the Roman period. 5) amphora can and were made large, such large stationary pots could be refilled from skins. This combination could compete with barrels.

I Iglonghurst 18:06, 19 August 2006 (UTC) have changed the bit about a combine harvester because it did not thresh the grain

I think we can all sense there seems to be a stylistic problem here. Although its neutral, the style is rather negative. Ie. for example

"There was no discipline or profession, save for sth" - sounds sarcastic in tone.

"With the exception of sth, there generally was no discipline or profession" - sounds better. -- Natalinasmpf 16:01, 8 May 2005 (UTC) (talk) 05:04, 11 April 2010 (UTC) "Several Roman technological feats in different areas like civil engineering, construction materials, transport technology, and some inventions such as the mechanical reaper, were surprising achievements until the 19th century, and some, such has the arch, has remained untouched to this day." Is this suggesting that no one has rediscovered the arch in modern times? Or maybe that modern engineering has not surpassed the roman use of the arch? Or that roman arches have remained untouched literally by hands? It is unclear what is meant and all three of my interpretations are false.


The link to Press is a disambiguation page with many possibilities. Anyone know of a more specific article? GreatWhiteNortherner 00:23, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Ongoing discussion on Roman Technology: Roman Army Talk[edit]

Appropriate for Wikipedia?

-- Mik 01:27, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Name of the article[edit]

I would like to change the name of the article to "Roman technology" because

  • the ancient is redundant, since it is clear that the ancient Romans are meant and not the inhabitants of modern Rome or whoever.
  • 'Roman technology' will make directs hits in the search function more likely than this three worder.
  • in the alphabetically sorted category list 'technology' people are also more likely to find something which starts with a "R" than with an "A"

What do you think? Gun Powder Ma 12:28, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

There is a redirect from Roman technology to this article. It looks like it was originally named Roman technology and someone renamed it to Ancient Roman technology (creating the redirect). Since there is a redirect, your "b" is already met. You can also sort categories (see WP:CAT#Category_sorting) which would take care of your "c". I don't have a problem with renaming it , but I recommend you list it at WP:RM. -- JLaTondre 12:59, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

I listed my request there. Additionally, I want to point out that the other technology article like 'Medieval technology' and 'Renaissance technology' (soon to come) also have concise, easy-to-find names. Also, all subcategories are also called 'Roman road', 'Roman aqueduct', "Roman bridge', 'Roman military' without the additional 'ancient'. Gun Powder Ma 13:20, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Went ahead. Now main article and its subcategories are named in an analog matter (see above). Gun Powder Ma 17:53, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Merge with Greek technology?[edit]

I've noticed there are a lot of elements on this page that could be described as 'Greek', or rather 'Hellenistic/Alexandrian' (whichever you prefer), given the continuity between both Greece and Rome and the influences they exerted on one anotheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer (well into the Imperial period most of this incidental innovation came from the Greek world) it seems rational to merge the Greek technology page with this one into a Greco-Roman Technology page, give a bit of background about how the tech developed from one period to the next etc... -- (talk) 11:35, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

no. The Romans had different technology than the greeks, and, as the technology was not made by the greco-Romans, but by the romans.Kingbirdy23 (talk) 15:45, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

Bath at Bath[edit]

Green algal growth? I've been to bath, and that color was present in all the water, including the inlet - it looked to me like it was due to copper salts. The bath is fed by a natural hot spring with a very high mineral concentration. Someone should check this claim and see which explanation is correct: laka Algae or minerals?

I know it's minerals but don't have a link to prove it. Could someone else help us out here? Anyway, where did algae growth come from?

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:36, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Roman Dams[edit]

I have started a new section on dams since there is a corpus of information available now and shouldbe addressed in this article. Helpers welcome! Peterlewis (talk) 13:50, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Wouldn't it make sense to also create articles as Roman dam and Roman mining to treat the matter more in-depth and complement others such as Roman road and Roman bridge? I'd be interested, if the Romans really knew and built arch dams, or whether the roughly semi-circular form of some of their dams was more accidental. I can provide material if wished. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 02:22, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Major Citation Issues in the 'Foreign Influences' Section[edit]

1. Much of "what is described as typically" (whatever that act of verbal vagueness means) Roman technology "comes directly from the Etruscan civilization"

2. The Etruscans had "perfected" (whatever that imprecise term means) the stone arch. <Note, an article establishing this directly will still in no way establish--unless the topic is otherwise addreessed in that article--that the Romans gained this technology from the Etruscans>

3. The Etruscans used this "perfected" stone artch in bridges. <Note, an article establishing this directly will still in no way establish--unless the topic is otherwise addreessed in that article--that the Romans gained this technology from the Etruscans>

4. The Etruscans used this "perfected" stone arch in buildings. <Note, an article establishing this directly will still in no way establish--unless the topic is otherwise addreessed in that article--that the Romans gained this technology from the Etruscans>

5. The Etruscans had paved streets. <Note, an article establishing this directly will still in no way establish--unless the topic is otherwise addreessed in that article--that the Romans gained this technology from the Etruscans>

6. The Etruscans had sewer systems. <Note, an article establishing this directly will still in no way establish--unless the topic is otherwise addreessed in that article--that the Romans gained this technology from the Etruscans>

7. "Some of later" [whatever that poorly worded phrase means] "Roman techology was taken directly from Greek civlization." <Not only is this in no way sourced, but the sentences that follow the statement are mostly disorganized non sequitirs, e.g., "The future lay with regional powers," "Rome's success would owe something to being on the periphery of a number of cultures," etc.>

8. "Roman fleets were based directly on Carthaginian quinqueremes"


All of those claims need to be cited to reliable (e.g., academic journal level) sources; if there are competeing views on the subject, they ought to be acknowledged. This article reads like a summary of a 'Story of Rome: Section I: Early History' DVD that someone saw on the Discovery Channel. It's inappropriate to lead an article on such a critical topic (Roman Technology) with such vague statements, non sequiturs, and unsourced claims.

I'm inclined to just delete the whole thing and leave a placeholding section, but clearly, someone worked on this, so I don't want to step on their (or the collective 'their') toes too much. I'll be honest, I'm surprised that, for an article of this length, such a section could have been permitted to exist for so long with no one raising these citation issues.

A final comment: frankly, I suspect that the reason many of these statements are unsourced is because of the inability to actually FIND a proper source. The claims about technological influence from Etruscan and Greek civilization are very 'old hat'--the product of old-school views that, when pressed for evidence, were never really able to pass muster. I'm not entirely discounting the relevance of foreign influences: in particular: 1. there were certain channels of technological transmission between the Romans and the Etruscans, and, 2. the Romans were classic assimilators in their interactions with foreign cultures throughout their history (i.e., beyond their early period). However, ANY such claims ought to be well-sourced. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 21:40, 18 April 2009 (UTC).

In Doubt[edit]

I added the disputed template to that section as well. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kingbirdy23 (talkcontribs) 15:54, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

GA review[edit]

I am speedy failing this GA nom because it lacks references. There are vast sections completely uncited. Please review WP:WIAGA and make sure the entire article is references. I encourage you to then renominate. Reywas92Talk 21:09, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

Cast iron[edit]

I looked up the point in the edit summary used to justify this deletion and found it valid, but the material has now been replaced. I propose removing it again but with reference to the talk page, and no hostility, this time. --Old Moonraker (talk) 09:19, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

No objections? Done.--Old Moonraker (talk) 07:19, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

The roman boxcutter 1800 years before Swiss boxcutter[edit] It is no less sophisticated than the mechanism Antikythera.

About domestic hydraulic technology, in Italy it is possible to find mechanical remains: water mills, tubes, piston, pumps, valves, taps, threaded joints, lead solder joints and other mechanical remains of roman period. You can see this italian sites some example, —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:51, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

We know that existed mechanical drills and hammer(?) (ital. maglio). In a little museum where I live exist granite tubes, pierced from a machine. When we go in bathroom and we open a tab to wash our hands with hot water, we are using a classic “roman” but I prefer “mediterranean” tecnology indeed lot of things came from the wider hellenistic world.

--Andriolo (talk) 08:26, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

The boxcutter is a unique finding.

Very curious is the fork as micro-trident. The Roman fork usually had two teeth. In western side after the fall of Western Roman Empire the cattolic church was against the use of a fork because it reminded the devil, indeed only recently in modern era the use of fork became common in monasteries. In eastern side (Oriental Roman Empire) we know that fork was used. We know that the use of fork returned in Venice only in high medieval period.

But in museum of Torcello and Padua (near Venice) there are numerous example of roman forks. In Roma the people used also the thimbles. But every area had different customes. In Venetian and Istria province the use of bronze forks in roman period was common. The greek word Piruni is the same of venetian word Piron.

See: this book of Padua museum: pag. 204

--Andriolo (talk) 10:10, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

I see the roman forks of Torcello are micro-tridents.... I was wrong when I said that Roman fork usually had two teeth. So there are forks with two or three teeth. --Andriolo (talk) 10:21, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

You can add these items to the list in the article. I can verify that the multi-functional tool (Swiss knife) is a Roman invention and taps were Roman too (or Greek). Gun Powder Ma (talk) 12:57, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Air compress weapon... pumps, piston and cylinder[edit]

Philo of Byzantium in Belopoeica describes a Balista that used compressed air. The technique is based on Hellenistic studies probably of Ctesibus. But the archeology gave us only roman exemplars of piston pumps used in mining and from firefighters that could be used also for this Balista. The components were polished with abrasive paste with a tolerance of 0.1 mm (Valverde pump) between the piston and the cylinder. The gaskets of these machanisms were of isinglass. Following descriptions of Philo the pressure of the weapon was limited by the temperature. The weapon was loaded with a rack. The piston had 10 cm bore and 50 cm stroke for 30Kg/cmq of pressure max. He had the advantage of maintaining efficient even during the rain probably the use was limited on ships. Indeed maintenance-efficiency / cost was not better than a conventional Balista. --Andriolo (talk) 11:56, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

Source for this can be found here. --Old Moonraker (talk) 12:04, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

Air compressed, pushed by piston and recycling of steam, was also used to throw the Greek fire. --Andriolo (talk) 12:30, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

About Hellenistic Roman technology[edit]

Not only lead and earthenware pipes but also stone pipes drilled. In Montagnana museum near Padua there are also cement pipes. In internet I find this image of Palmira but it is possible to find others. Rome, Efeso ecc ecc. I think it would be difficult to produce them also today. It is possible to pierce them only with a machine.

File:Harbaqa Dam, Syria. Pic 02.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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The wrong place?[edit]

"There were huge reserves of wood, peat and coal in the Roman Empire, but they were all in the wrong place." ^What exactly does this mean? The wrong place for whom? For the city of Rome? Were they somehow inaccessible even to Romans in the area? If so, it should be stated more clearly — Preceding unsigned comment added by Moses.hetfield (talkcontribs) 00:17, 2 October 2013 (UTC)