How Did the Ancient Romans Manage to Build Perfectly Straight, Ultra Durable Roads?

  • Published: 15 September 2019
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    In this video:

    The ancient Romans were a people famed for their architectural prowess, something no better demonstrated than by their ability to build almost perfectly straight and incredibly durable roads spanning expansive distances. For example, in Britain alone, the Romans built well over 50,000 miles of roads with the longest ruler-straight stretch spanning over 50 miles. They did all of this in an era without modern surveying tools, construction equipment, or even very accurate maps of precisely where their destination was for many of the areas. So how did they do it?

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Comments • 1 765

  • Today I Found Out
    Today I Found Out   2 months back

    Thanks again to Brilliant for sponsoring this one! If Brilliant sounds interesting to you, please do go help support Todayifoundout using this link: Thanks!

    • Randy Fitzpatrick
      Randy Fitzpatrick  2 months back

      I can understand having an ad before the video so you can be monetized, but then you have to stick an ad in saying this video is sponsored. So, not only do you get monitized, but then get sponsered too forcing people to watch or have to fast forward. Think I will unsubscribe. So should everyone else, then you can depend on your sponsor.

    • Cooking My Way
      Cooking My Way  2 months back

      Hi Babish! 🎊

    • Frank Castle
      Frank Castle  2 months back

      No one cares get off the internet

  • ryuzakilawlight
    ryuzakilawlight  7 hours back

    Holy god...It's like the Romans figured it out perfectly and we're just ..copycats.. have we even moved one inch from then!???

    • MySerpentine
      MySerpentine  2 days back

      Ancient people were not stupid

      • paleolithictech
        paleolithictech  2 days back

        all roads lead to Rome ....

        • Julio Avalos
          Julio Avalos  3 days back

          I'm sorry, did the host say that Nero "cut the price of corn". If that is the case, how could he if corn is a New World crop?

          • Julio Avalos
            Julio Avalos  2 days back

            @ender Interesting, I did not know that. Thank you for the enlightenment, Ender.

          • ender
            ender  2 days back

            Corn dosnt have to be maize. The general meaning is just a kind of grain

        • Phantom Warrior
          Phantom Warrior  3 days back

          slaves make cost of labor fairly low.

          • Tokin
            Tokin  4 days back

            You see, if you have point -A- and a point -B- and you put a spike in the ground at both points then tie a string to each spike it makes a straight line. Believe it or not we do the same today just with a laser.

            • AngelRaivan 8579
              AngelRaivan 8579  5 days back

              "Join the army" they said, "see the world" they said. All I've done is dug holes!

              • AngelRaivan 8579
                AngelRaivan 8579  5 days back

                Jesters traditionally played a hurdy gurdy.

                • Ray Martin
                  Ray Martin  6 days back

                  They had good roads because they didn't waste all day watching YouTube.

                  • CybershamanX
                    CybershamanX  6 days back

                    (8:48) It's too bad the Romans didn't do like the Greeks did on their herma road markers. That is, put a penis on it. You know, for luck! ;) :P

                    • Da Qoraxxx
                      Da Qoraxxx  1 weeks back

                      4:17 to 5:04 is how they measured the direction of the road.
                      A schematic overview of the measurement tool would've been helpful.

                      • Daeran Gall
                        Daeran Gall  1 weeks back

                        and cut the price of corn  14:34... hmmm.. wasn't corn a new world thing..? did corn exist in the roman diet..

                        • Thom Holland
                          Thom Holland  1 weeks back

                          Hmmm. That was an odd segue from roads to Nero.

                          • Rob Roy Cahala-Barrow
                            Rob Roy Cahala-Barrow  1 weeks back

                            I could care less if the Romans can build perfect straight roads so did the Inca empire..

                            I would be more interested in how people don't know about Operation Paperclip (which is where the US brought over Nazi scientists to continue expierments on Canadian and American citizens(mainly their minorities mental ill and homeless populations) these scientists expiermented on Jews in the Halocaust where most of your modern medicine and vaccines come from. Also 8 major big pharma companies broke off a Nazi company and those businesses still have Nazi mentality. Merck is one Bayer another.. NASA is founded by former Nazi scientists.. People rather be spoonfed information instead of doing actual research. But that's why people can go to your website (though I'm not sure how much research you do as well) .....

                            • Alexander Glavan
                              Alexander Glavan  1 weeks back

                              Modern Romans need to be told the secret... it's a mess.

                              • General Meyer
                                General Meyer  2 weeks back

                                This guys always puts me to sleep for some reason

                                • Mr 6oodstuff
                                  Mr 6oodstuff  2 weeks back

                                  Today I found out I didn't know shit

                                  • The Mob Seat
                                    The Mob Seat  2 weeks back

                                    Great video, but the term BCE is cultural vandalism. It's like not using the word Thursday because it's named after Thor.

                                    • Arthur Heidt
                                      Arthur Heidt  2 weeks back

                                      roman roads weren't used by trucks

                                      • MRVAANY87
                                        MRVAANY87  2 weeks back

                                        they wanted to build something of quality not disposable garbage like most things today all they needed is skill and nothing more

                                        • Roberr Platt
                                          Roberr Platt  2 weeks back

                                          Anthony Sleezewick does not Google.

                                          • 3 AM Paranormale e Horror

                                            Then they found Jesus and all went to shit !

                                            • Rosie Fay
                                              Rosie Fay  2 weeks back

                                              2:25 "surveyors would be sent out to figure out the precise direction connecting the two main points" And how would they do that with no good way of ascertaining longitude? Did they even have accurate compasses?
                                              5:49 "concrete" What would that have been made of, and how?

                                              • Colin Cummings
                                                Colin Cummings  3 days back

                                                I think they mention in the video they used plumb lines, sticks in the ground, and raw determination to draw straight lines from place to place.

                                                As for the concrete, I recommend this guy:

                                            • Paul D
                                              Paul D  2 weeks back

                                              In hindsight, I can appreciate the foresight needed to accomplish this.

                                              • l l
                                                l l  2 weeks back

                                                They had no choice because they didn't know how to make a curve.

                                                • Laughingpug
                                                  Laughingpug  2 weeks back

                                                  The real secret to the durability of the roman roads no 40 ton trucks

                                                  • Roger Sheddy
                                                    Roger Sheddy  3 weeks back


                                                    " a letter from Seneca the younger to Paul the Apostle."

                                                    Why is this the first I've heard about this?

                                                    • Scrap5000
                                                      Scrap5000  3 weeks back

                                                      14:36. Lowered the price of corn?? I think corn didn't reach Europe till after Columbus...

                                                      • JonathanLit
                                                        JonathanLit  3 weeks back

                                                        It's kind of funny that he used the word "decimate" incorrectly considering this is a video about Romans. Decimate means to destroy or lose 1/10th of a legion (extrapolated to other items, people, or things) so it would have been 1.4 districts of the city destroyed (not 4 untouched out of 14) if it had truly been decimated.

                                                        • Eric Taylor
                                                          Eric Taylor  3 weeks back

                                                          10:00 Sounds like trucks stops today. I bet they also had the same sorts of....entertainment available at trucks stops today.

                                                          • doc Kaos
                                                            doc Kaos  3 weeks back

                                                            The earth was flat in roman times, they would find it more difficult now that the earth round

                                                            • Steve Gais
                                                              Steve Gais  3 weeks back

                                                              I always took "fiddle" to mean he did useless stuff, not the insturment. Like "fiddling around".

                                                              • MrTravis789
                                                                MrTravis789  3 weeks back


                                                                • Gonçalo Dias
                                                                  Gonçalo Dias  3 weeks back

                                                                  Stick a pole on the grownd.
                                                                  Put a staright wooden board next to it. Put a pole on the other end keep doing it for miles
                                                                  Build the road following the line created by the poles

                                                                  • Dreaming Dreamer
                                                                    Dreaming Dreamer  4 weeks back

                                                                    Its funny how contemporary society wonders, "How did people do all this cool stuff in the past without current technology?"

                                                                    Well, maybe they were smart and educated engineers. Maybe people centuries ago weren't ignorant? Maybe they were just as smart or smarter than us?

                                                                    • Gonzalo Araujo
                                                                      Gonzalo Araujo  4 weeks back

                                                                      How to sell roman road construction to foreign barbarian investors 101

                                                                      • Neil Williams
                                                                        Neil Williams  4 weeks back

                                                                        Simon you know I'm going to say excellent as usual 👏 👈

                                                                        • raborne Vines
                                                                          raborne Vines  4 weeks back

                                                                          4 out of 14 still standing isn't decimation. dec·i·mate - To kill 1 out of every 10. Destroying 10 out of 14 is catastrophic.

                                                                          • FreeCandyGuy
                                                                            FreeCandyGuy  4 weeks back

                                                                            14:35 Does he say "cut the price of corn"? I did not think corn reached the New World until the 16th century.

                                                                            • Wade Guidry
                                                                              Wade Guidry  4 weeks back

                                                                              "On a long and Roman highway,
                                                                              East of Omaha"
                                                                              "You can listen to the Nero,
                                                                              Fiddle out as one long song....."

                                                                              • NEHEMIAH ISRAEL
                                                                                NEHEMIAH ISRAEL  4 weeks back

                                                                                By using slaves..

                                                                                • welshgit
                                                                                  welshgit  4 weeks back

                                                                                  The CD-ROM burning software by a German company is called "Nero" because "Nero, burning Rom" (Rom is German for "Rome")

                                                                                  • Doc Lewis
                                                                                    Doc Lewis  1 months back

                                                                                    Why do we assume that there were no smart people in Ancient times? Seems we forget that there are always a few people who are simply good at doing certain things even without being taught how to do them. My father taught himself how to draw, paint, and play several different musical instruments. I'd imagine there are people who can figure out how to make roads, sewers, waterways, etc.

                                                                                    • Chris BigBad
                                                                                      Chris BigBad  1 months back

                                                                                      have you actually started to say "et cetera"? nice!

                                                                                      • andyman aus
                                                                                        andyman aus  1 months back

                                                                                        How did the Romans make perfect roads so quickly?  Their road workers actually worked.

                                                                                        • Jacob
                                                                                          Jacob  1 months back

                                                                                          These stories of Nero were fabricated by the Christians... just as christians fabricate their stories (lies) today.

                                                                                          • Jacob
                                                                                            Jacob  1 months back

                                                                                            Please! Keep your anus problems to yourself.

                                                                                          • scythelord
                                                                                            scythelord  1 months back

                                                                                            Someone is butthurt.

                                                                                        • CJ Kelly
                                                                                          CJ Kelly  1 months back

                                                                                          He said that Nero "cut the price of corn." I thought corn did not reach Europe until after Columbus? Was there some kind of corn ancestor that was like maize?

                                                                                          • CJ Kelly
                                                                                            CJ Kelly  1 months back

                                                                                            @Michael Wlazlinski Thanks very much, Mr. Wlazinski. Appreciate it.

                                                                                          • Michael Wlazlinski
                                                                                            Michael Wlazlinski  1 months back

                                                                                            No. Corn was a term for grain in general way back then.