Financing road building was a Roman government responsibility. Davies, Hugh, E. H. 1998. These eastern and southern routes acquired military importance from the 3rd century onwards with the emergence of Saxon seaborne raiding as a major and persistent threat to the security of Britannia. In Britain most route names are derived from the Welsh or Anglo-Saxon language. Viae were generally centrally placed in the countryside. [9][13] Their authority extended over all roads between their respective gates of issue in the city wall and the first milestone beyond.[9]. Others have been lost or are of archeological and historical interest only. It was drawn by teams of oxen, horses or mules. The Tables command Romans to build public roads and give wayfarers the right to pass over private land where the road is in disrepair. Private citizens with an interest in the road could be asked to contribute to its repair. These larger bridges were built with stone and had the arch as its basic structure (see arch bridge). They were also built with a hump making water flow to the edges. It had travertine paving, polygonal basalt blocks, concrete bedding (substituted for the gravel), and a rain-water gutter.[20]. This road was half carved into the rock, about 5 ft to 5 ft 9 in (1.5 to 1.75 m), the rest of the road, above the Danube, was made from wooden structure, projecting out of the cliff. "Fosse" may derive from fossa, the Latin word for "ditch". Combined topographical and road-maps may have existed as specialty items in some Roman libraries, but they were expensive, hard to copy and not in general use. [6] However, there are numerous tracts of Roman road which have survived, albeit overgrown by vegetation, in the visible form of footpaths through woodland or common land, such as the section of Stane Street crossing Eartham Wood in the South Downs near Bignor (Sussex). The depth varied according to terrain. [16] Thus, three important cross-routes were established connecting the major legionary bases by AD 80 as the frontier of the Roman-occupied zone advanced: Later a large number of other cross-routes and branches were grafted onto this basic network. [7] At least half a dozen sites have been positively identified as mansiones in Britain, e.g. The first known were commissioned in 44 BC by Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Beyond those means, taxes were required. Drawn by one or two mules or horses, it was used for cab work, the cab drivers being called cisiani. Their purpose was to show miles, so they might include distance in Roman miles to important places or the endpoint of the particular road. The Lex Iulia Municipalis restricted commercial carts to night-time access in the city within the walls and within a mile outside the walls. The road functioned as a towpath, making the Danube navigable. Censors, who were in charge of public morals and public works, were expected to fund repairs suâ pecuniâ (with their own money). [9] Such roads benefited from a right of way, in favor either of the public or of the owner of a particular estate. Via Traiana: Porolissum Napoca Potaissa Apulum road. Roman law and tradition forbade the use of vehicles in urban areas, except in certain cases. They eventually made contracts for paving the street inside Rome, including the Clivus Capitolinus, with lava, and for laying down the roads outside the city with gravel. It carried several people with baggage up to the legal limit of 1000 Roman librae (pounds), modern equivalent 328 kilograms (723 pounds). The Roman arch is largely responsible for the expansion of infrastructure across the Roman Empire. Watling Street). The road was constructed by filling the ditch. [9] The Itinerary of Antoninus, which was probably a work of much earlier date, republished in an improved and enlarged form, under one of the Antonine emperors, remains as standing evidence of the minute care which was bestowed on the service of the public roads. Despite the lack of any national management of the highways, Roman roads remained fundamental transport routes in England throughout the Early, High and Late Middle Ages. A via connected two cities. A legion on the march brought its own baggage train (impedimenta) and constructed its own camp (castra) every evening at the side of the road. [3] The courses (and sometimes the surfaces) of many Roman roads survived for millennia; some are overlaid by modern roads. Often a permanent military camp or a town grew up around the mansio. Repairs became intermittent and based on ad hoc work. Building viae was a military responsibility and thus came under the jurisdiction of a consul. Stretham means "homestead or village on a Roman road" and likewise Stretford means "ford on a Roman road". Three Greek geographers, Zenodoxus, Theodotus and Polyclitus, were hired to survey the system and compile a master itinerary; the task required over 25 years and the resulting stone-engraved master itinerary was set up near the Pantheon. The road was first marked out with pilings. A two-wheel version existed along with the normal four-wheel type called the plaustrum maius. As they did not possess anything like a transit, a civil engineering surveyor tried to achieve straightness by looking along the rods and commanding the gromatici to move them as required. Carts driven by oxen were used. [clarification needed] The construction and care of the public roads, whether in Rome, in Italy, or in the provinces, was, at all periods of Roman history, considered to be a function of the greatest weight and importance. They reach the Wall in Britain; run along the Rhine, the Danube, and the Euphrates; and cover, as with a network, the interior provinces of the Empire. About one quarter of road pavements were "bottomed" with large stones, mostly in the north and west where stone was more readily available. Turda, Romania: 1993 copy of the Milliarium of Aiton, dating from 108 and showing the construction of the road from Potaissa to Napoca built by Cohors I Hispanorum miliaria in Roman Dacia, by demand of the Emperor Trajan, Remains of the miliarium aureum in the Roman Forum, A provincial Roman milestone, at Alto Rabagão, Portugal (road from Bracara Augusta to Asturias). They could require the neighboring landowners either to furnish laborers for the general repair of the viae vicinales, or to keep in repair, at their own expense, a certain length of road passing through their respective properties.[9]. The initial road network was built by the army to facilitate military communications. [9] There were, for instance, some pre-Roman ancient trackways in Britain, such as the Ridgeway and the Icknield Way.[10]. Roman forts, roads, military camps and villas have been identified by a new analysis of aerial photographs taken in the 2018 heatwave across Wales. Following the Roman invasion of Britain under the Emperor Claudius in AD 43, the Roman army oversaw the rapid construction of a network of new roads. D.8.3.0 De servitutibus praediorum rusticorum. Official road names were usually taken from the Emperor in whose reign they were completed, such as the Via Traiana from Rome to Brindisi in southern Italy was named after the Emperor Trajan (98–117). Certain persons appear also to have acted alone and taken responsibility for certain roads. Stanegate, the military road from Carlisle to Corbridge, was built under the Emperor Trajan (ruled 98–117) along the line of the future Hadrian's Wall, which was constructed by his successor Hadrian in 122–132. Mutationes and mansiones were the key infrastructure for the cursus publicus (the imperial postal and transport system), which operated in many provinces of the Roman Empire. Relays of fresh riders and horses careering at full gallop could sustain an average speed of about 20 mph (32 km/h). Approximately every 12 mi (19 km) – a typical day's journey for an ox-drawn wagon – was a mansio (literally: "a sojourn", from which derive the English word "mansion" and French maison or "house"). Worsted Street, or Wool Street, from Wixoe to Cambridge. A via combined both types of servitutes, provided it was of the proper width, which was determined by an arbiter. Some high-status roads in Italy were bound together by volcanic mortar, and a small minority of excavated sites in Britain have shown concrete or limestone mortar. Their inscriptions are collected in the volume XVII of the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum. The quattuorviri board was kept as it was until at least the reign of Hadrian between 117–138 AD. The core network was complemented by a number of routes built primarily for commercial, rather than military, purposes. Graham, Alexander. C.W.J.Eliot, New Evidence for the Speed of the Roman Imperial Post. Key locations, both strategic and administrative, were connected by the most direct routes possible. A third system of way stations serviced vehicles and animals: the mutationes ("changing stations"). Prior to the Roman conquest of Britain, pre-Roman Britons mostly used unpaved trackways for travel. In the Itinerary of Antoninus, the description of the road system, after the death of Julius Caesar and during the tenure of Augustus, is as follows: With the exception of some outlying portions, such as Britain north of the Wall, Dacia, and certain provinces east of the Euphrates, the whole Empire was penetrated by these itinera (plural of iter). Sidewalks were also provided. Beyond the secondary roads were the viae terrenae, "dirt roads". They used two main devices, the rod and a device called a groma, which helped them obtain right angles. The same person often served afterwards as consul, but the road name is dated to his term as censor. Milestones on the roads give the date of construction. When a street passed between a public building or temple and a private house, the public treasury and the private owner shared the expense equally. The original names of the Roman roads in Britain are not known due to the lack of written and inscribed sources. All roads were considered to begin from this gilded bronze monument. These served to link the most important military places in the new province of Britannia. [9] Unless these allusions are just simple anachronisms, the roads referred to were probably at the time little more than levelled earthen tracks. The flat surface was then the pavimentum. A large wicker basket was sometimes placed on it. the excavated mansio at Godmanchester (Durovigutum) on Ermine Street (near Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire).[8]. The second category included private or country roads, originally constructed by private individuals, in whom their soil was vested, and who had the power to dedicate them to the public use. Frequented houses no doubt became the first tabernae, which were hostels, rather than the "taverns" we know today. For example, the Anglo-Saxons called the entire route from Dover/Portus Ritupis to Wroxeter, via Londinium (London): Watlingestrate (it is one of four former Roman roads (Latin: cammini) named as public rights of way under the Laws of Edward the Confessor in the early 11th century.[14][15]). This video gives pupils an understanding of how and why the Romans built a network of roads in Britain. Well-preserved sections of structures sometimes identified as Roman roads include Wade's Causeway in Yorkshire, and at Blackpool Bridge in the Forest of Dean, although their integrity as original Roman surfaces is not certain. Corbishley, Mike: "The Roman World", page 50. Of the cars, the most popular was the carrus, a standard chariot form descending to the Romans from a greater antiquity. The Roman road network remained the only nationally-managed highway system within Britain until the establishment of the Ministry of Transport in the early 20th century. After Boudica's Revolt, London (Londinium) commanded the major bridge across the Thames connecting the final northern and western legionary bases with the Kentish ports communicating with Boulogne (Gesoriacum) and the rest of the Empire. Into or onto the nucleus went a course of polygonal or square paving stones, called the summa crusta. Under the heading of viae privatae were also included roads leading from the public or high roads to particular estates or settlements. These were probably the minimum widths for a via; in the later Republic, widths of around 12 Roman feet were common for public roads in rural regions, permitting the passing of two carts of standard (4 foot) width without interference to pedestrian traffic. The ius eundi ("right of going") established a claim to use an iter, or footpath, across private land; the ius agendi ("right of driving"), an actus, or carriage track. The metalling was in two layers, a foundation of medium to large stones covered by a running surface, often a compacted mixture of smaller flint and gravel. After the final withdrawal of Roman government and troops from Britain in 410, regular maintenance ended on the road network. Causeways were built over marshy ground. Freight costs were made heavier still by import and export taxes. The final steps utilized lime-based concrete, which the Romans had discovered. Sections could be supported over marshy ground on rafted or piled foundations.[3][4]. Green, M, "Godmanchester Roman History - The Mansio", Roman road route planner, British part based on Itinerarium Antonini, 'Lost' Roads of Ancient Rome Discovered with 3D Laser Scanners,, Articles with Latin-language sources (la), Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Built as a supply route for Hadrian's Wall, just to the south of it via. Non-military officials and people on official business had no legion at their service and the government maintained way stations, or mansiones ("staying places"), for their use. It’s interesting to reflect that after the Roman departure from England in AD 410, systematic construction of paved highways didn’t resume until the 18th century. The postman wore a characteristic leather hat, the petanus. Roughly every 4 mi (6.4 km) – the most a horse could safely be ridden hard – there would be a mutatio (literally: "a change"), essentially stables where mounted messengers could change horses and a tavern to obtain refreshment. [9] It was designed to unite and consolidate the conquests of the Roman people, whether within or without the limits of Italy proper. Building roads that would not need frequent repair therefore became an ideological objective, as well as building them as straight as practicable to construct the shortest possible roads, and thus save on material. Milestones were usually cylindrical and 2–4 m (6 ft 7 in–13 ft 1 in) in height. D.43.11 De via publica et itinere publico reficiendo. Roman Britain, area of the island of Great Britain that was under Roman rule from the conquest of Claudius in 43 CE to the withdrawal of imperial authority by Honorius in 410 CE. [21] It was only a short step from lists to a master list, or a schematic route-planner in which roads and their branches were represented more or less in parallel, as in the Tabula Peutingeriana. From time to time, the roads would be completely resurfaced and might even be entirely rebuilt, e.g. Such a road, though privately constructed, became a public road when the memory of its private constructors had perished. The public road system of the Romans was thoroughly military in its aims and spirit. Ignoring their later English names, they are as follows: Margary, Ivan D. (1973), Roman Roads in Britain (third ed. Examples include: in Kent and Sussex, three certain roads leading from London to the important iron-mining area of the Weald; and in East Anglia, the road from Colchester to Norwich, Peddars Way and the Fen Causeway. These roads connected modern Italy and Germany, Roads built in service of the Roman Empire, "The extraordinary greatness of the Roman Empire manifests itself above all in three things: the aqueducts, the paved roads, and the construction of the drains.". This is clearly shown by the fact that the censors, in some respects the most venerable of Roman magistrates, had the earliest paramount authority to construct and repair all roads and streets. This means that the toponym of a road is not based on the original Roman nomenclature for naming highways within Britannia Superior or Britannia Inferior. Tolls abounded, especially at bridges. Roman roads remained in use as trunk roads for centuries after the Romans withdrew from Britain in 410 AD. First a small layer of coarse concrete, the rudus, then a little layer of fine concrete, the nucleus, went onto the pavement or statumen. Road construction techniques were gradually improved by the study of road traffic , stone thickness, road alignment, and slope gradients , developing to use stones that were laid in a regular, compact design , and covered with smaller stones to produce a solid layer . Milestones divided the via Appia even before 250 BC into numbered miles, and most viae after 124 BC. The average depth of metalling over 213 recorded roads is about 51 cm (20 in), with great variation from as little as 10 cm (4 in) to up to 4 m (13 ft) in places, probably built up over centuries. Mansiones were located about 25 to 30 kilometres (16 to 19 mi) apart. Learn about the Roman system of roads and fortifications in Britain, Roman civil administration, and Romano-British art in … [9], The Viae terrenae were plain roads of leveled earth. Single slabs went over rills. Generally the Roman roads in Britain have names derived from Anglo-Saxon giants and divinities. Completely abolishing the duoviri and later being granted the position as superintendent (according to Dio Cassius) of the road system connecting Rome to the rest of Italy and provinces beyond. The availability of local materials dictated the details of road construction, but the basic principles were always the same. Wayside stations have been identified in Britain. Quilici, Lorenzo (2008): "Land Transport, Part 1: Roads and Bridges", in: Subordinate officers under the aediles, whose duty it was to look after those streets of Rome which were outside the city walls. They performed the same functions but were somewhat disreputable, as they were frequented by thieves and prostitutes. ], if only to secure uniformity, the personal liability of householders to execute repairs of the streets was commuted for a paving rate payable to the public authorities who were responsible from time to time. Siculus Flaccus, who lived under Trajan (98–117), calls them viae publicae regalesque,[9] and describes their characteristics as follows: Roman roads were named after the censor who had ordered their construction or reconstruction. [9], Viae were distinguished not only according to their public or private character, but according to the materials employed and the methods followed in their construction. In the provinces, the consul or praetor and his legates received authority to deal directly with the contractor. These accomplishments would not be rivaled until the Modern Age. English place names continue to reflect the settlement of Britain by the Anglo-Saxons. Extant remains of Roman roads are often much degraded or contaminated by later surfacing. Only three provide additional information: two are dedicated by the public works departments of a civitas (county) (Dobunni)[10] and a city (Lincoln),[11] showing the involvement of local authorities in road maintenance; and the third[12] records that the Emperor Caracalla (reigned 211–217) "restored the roads, which had fallen into ruin and disuse through old age". They were located every 20 to 30 kilometres (12 to 19 mi). The postal service was a somewhat dangerous occupation, as postmen were a target for bandits and enemies of Rome. Their transportation service was the cursus clabularis, after the standard wagon, called a carrus clabularius, clabularis, clavularis, or clabulare. Where they have not been built over, many sections have been ploughed over by farmers and some stripped of their stone to use on turnpike roads. Nucleus: kernel or bedding of fine cement made of pounded potshards and lime. In Britain, the Vindolanda tablets, a series of letters written on wooden tablets to and by members of the garrison of Hadrian's Wall, show the operation of the cursus on the island. As to the standard Imperial terminology that was used, the words were localized for different elements used in construction and varied from region to region. Scotland (Caledonia), including England north of Hadrian's Wall, remained mostly outside the boundaries of Britannia province, as the Romans never succeeded in subjugating the entire island, despite a serious effort to do so by governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola in 82–84. The military used a standard wagon. A carrus with two horses was a biga; three horses, a triga; and four horses a quadriga. They had a number of methods available to them. Responsibility for their regular repair and maintenance rested with designated imperial officials (the curatores viarum), though the cost would probably have been borne by the local civitas (county) authorities whose territory the road crossed. Maintenance, however, was generally left to the province. Many settlements were founded on or near Roman roads (suffix -street e.g. After the civil engineer looked over the site of the proposed road and determined roughly where it should go, the agrimensores went to work surveying the road bed. [9] In Rome itself each householder was legally responsible for the repairs to that portion of the street which passed his own house. An example is found in an early basalt road by the Temple of Saturn on the Clivus Capitolinus. In the early days of the viae, when little unofficial provision existed, houses placed near the road were required by law to offer hospitality on demand. Using the gromae they then laid out a grid on the plan of the road. Two postal services were available under the empire, one public and one private. These routes, many of which had prehistoric origins, followed elevated ridge lines across hills, such as the South Downs Way. D.43.10 De via publica et si quid in ea factum esse dicatur. An example of this is found on the Roman road from Căzănești near the Iron Gates. The Romans may have given each section of Saxon "Watling Street" different names as the route was built sequentially over several decades in relation to the territory taken by the Romans as they subjugated Britain. The agger was sometimes, but not always, bordered by deep ditches to take rainwater and keep the road structure as dry as possible. Sometimes a layer of sand was put down, if it could be found. Special curatores for a term seem to have been appointed on occasion, even after the institution of the permanent magistrates bearing that title. The Cursus publicus, founded by Augustus, carried the mail of officials by relay throughout the Roman road system. [11] Actual practices varied from this standard. Wooden bridges were constructed on pilings sunk into the river, or on stone piers. Main roads were gravel or paved, had bridges constructed in stone or wood, and manned waypoints where travellers or military units could stop and rest. The primary function of the network was to allow rapid movement of troops and military supplies, but it subsequently provided vital infrastructure for commerce, trade and the transportation of goods. They were considered public or private, according to the fact of their original construction out of public or private funds or materials. Often they were collected at the city gate. ), The Roman World (1987) Vol. These were mere tracks worn down by the feet of humans and animals, and possibly by wheeled carriages. The libratores then began their work using ploughs and, sometimes with the help of legionaries, with spades excavated the road bed down to bedrock or at least to the firmest ground they could find. [9] Little reliance can be placed on Pomponius, who states that the quattuorviri were instituted eodem tempore (at the same time) as the praetor peregrinus (i.e. There was certainly no lack of precedents for this enforced liberality, and the change made by Claudius may have been a mere change in the nature of the expenditure imposed on the quaestors. Engineers from the Roman Army, in most cases, surveyed and built them from scratch. ", Quilici, Lorenzo. Roman roads in Britannia were initially designed for military use, created by the Roman Army during the nearly four centuries (AD 43–410) that Britannia was a province of the Roman Empire.. The earliest roads, built in the first phase of Roman occupation (the Julio-Claudian period, AD 43–68), connected London with the ports used in the invasion (Chichester and Richborough), and with the earlier legionary bases at Colchester, Lincoln (Lindum), Wroxeter (Viroconium), Gloucester and Exeter. The tyres were of iron. Another example is found near the Via Latina. The vehicle for carrying mail was a cisium with a box, but for special delivery, a horse and rider was faster. Duoviri viis extra propiusve urbem Romam passus mille purgandis, Ancient Roman Street re-emerges close to Colleferro, The roads of Roman Italy: mobility and cultural change, Roman Private Law in the Times of Cicero and of the Antonines, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, A School Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, An Encyclopædia of Civil Engineering, Historical, Theoretical, and Practical, The Antiquity À-la-carte interactive digital atlas of the Ancient Mediterranean World, Omnes Viae: Roman route planner based on Tabula Peutingeriana, Traianus: Technical investigation of Roman public works, Itineraires Romains en France (in French), Pictures of Roman roads in the province of Raetia (German captions),, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from October 2016, Articles with unsourced statements from August 2019, Pages using Sister project links with default search, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Many practical Roman innovations were adopted from earlier designs. By 96, further extensions from York to Corbridge, and from Chester to Carlisle and Caernarfon (Segontium), were completed as Roman rule was extended over Wales (Cambria) and northern England (Brigantia). Costs of services on the journey went up from there. Most also used concrete, which the Romans were the first to use for bridges. Gradients of 10%–12% are known in ordinary terrain, 15%–20% in mountainous country. Again, Gaius Scribonius Curio, when Tribune (50 BC), sought popularity by introducing a Lex Viaria, under which he was to be chief inspector or commissioner for five years. It had a large storage room containing barrels of wine, cheese and ham. The main trunk roads were originally constructed by the Roman army. As the Dover to London section of Watling Street was begun in the years following the Roman invasion of Britain in 43, it may have been known to the Romano-Britons as the Via Claudia in honour of Emperor Claudius (41–54) who led the military campaign.

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