I’m changing things up a bit and sharing a six-part, Britian-centric series I came across that highlights a lot of the technological innovations that the the Romans came up with (though many things were Greek in origin.) The scope and degree of innovation, to me, implies a high-degree of societal sophistication and specialization that impressed upon me a much deeper understanding of Roman civilization and “getting” their sense of greatness.
Sit back, relax, and as always, Enjoy.
What The Romans Did For Us (1of6): The Life of Luxury
Roman Baths and Pumproom
This 2,000 year old Great Roman Temple enclosing a natural spring is one of Bath’s foremost visitor attractions. The site of a cultish shrine to the Roman goddess, Sulis Minerva, it boasts a beautifully preserved bath, temple and pumproom.
Chester’s Roman Fort, Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland
A well-preserved cavalry fort, complete with a bath house and which features an impressive museum. Original artefacts are on display.
What The Romans Did For Us (2of6): Invasion
When the Roman army invaded Britain in force in the spring of AD 43, they brought with them technology that must have astonished the native Celts. To begin with the Roman weapons were far better – they had good swords, spears, and several machines to throw missiles.
Lunt Roman Fort, Warwickshire
Built on an archaeological site, this faithful reconstruction of a military complex includes a granary, ramparts and a museum of Roman artifacts.
What The Romans Did For Us (3of6): Building Britain, Town and Country
Hart-Davis analyses the Romans’ ingenious farming methods and looks at the creation of early towns. He visits York and discovers the remains of the Roman city and a Roman sewer that is still working.
Butser Ancient Farm
Described as ‘an open air laboratory’, this reconstructed Iron Age farm and settlement is an archaeological research project, investigating the ancient methods of Celtic farmers.
Housesteads Roman Fort
Britain’s most intact Roman fort, all the more impressive for its clifftop location, built by Hadrian in the second century.
What The Romans Did For Us (4of6): Arteries of the Empire
Hart-Davis analyses the Romans’ ingenious surveying methods that enabled them to build their arrow-straight roads. He also commissions a replica of an ingenious giant water wheel used to remove water from flooded Welsh gold mines.
Richborough Roman Fort
The remains of a Roman fortification dating back to their first century landing, as well as a museum of Roman life
What The Romans Did For Us (5of6): Edge of Empire
Hart-Davis visits Hadrian’s Wall and demonstrates how communications were the key to the success of the Roman military machine.
Vindolanda Fort, Hadrian’s Wall
The remains of a Roman fort and settlement, with full-scale reconstructed buildings and an excellent museum. Excavations are in progress.
What The Romans Did For Us (6of6): Ahead of Their Time
Adam Hart-Davis rediscovers the innovations and inventions brought by the Romans to Britain. In this edition, he examines the forms of entertainment laid on during the 176 days per year that were public holidays in Roman times. Featuring the hydraulis, the first ever keyboard instrument. Plus a look at how the Romans introduced concrete.
Caerleon Roman Amphitheatre, South Wales
Part of a Roman fortress complex in the ancient town of Caerleon, this circular site was once the setting for displays of gladiatorial combat and accommodated 6,000 spectators. Arthurian legend suggests it was the site of King Arthur’s Round Table. Also features a museum and nearby remains of a bath-house and barracks.