Ancient Rome Building and Engineering
There is no doubt that ancient Roman ability in building and engineering was superlative. This ability was initially inherited from their Etruscan neighbours and soon became a fundamental strategic strength. Rome and the Romans were able to conquer and govern the world as well as easily spread her civilising influence in a stable fashion also because of their ability to reliably execute civil engineering works and manage large infrastructure projects. This included the ability to construct durable roads, bridges and ports for transport of goods and civilians; or the civil engineering like sewers, apartment blocks and meeting halls which enabled large population concentrations.
Rather than a result of methodical R&D the achievements of Roman construction and engineering were achieved as a result of slow and progressive trial and error through the ages. Events such as the great fire of Rome also pushed advances in construction techniques and planning. For example the use of pozzolanic concrete became widespread. Slowly but surely they managed to achieve walls, vaults, arches and domes of impressive dimensions, strength and beauty such as we may see in the Colosseum, Aqueducts and the Pantheon.
Roman construction techniques were so advanced as to act as inspiration during the Renaissance of Rome. The Renaissance architects who were to build competing structures came to Rome in order to study and learn the techniques of the ancients.
Two of the most important fields of Roman construction were the Roman roads and Roman aqueducts, not to mention the great drains of Rome the “Cloaca Maxima”.