The mighty Roman Empire is still considered as perhaps the greatest civilization in the history of humankind. Considering this fact, should it really surprise anyone that the Romans created lots of amazing ideas that societies worldwide are using? It really shouldn’t, but what may be surprising is the actual ideas that came from the Ancient Romans. Let us examine 7 Ancient Roman ideas that are still being used today.
There is no doubt that all of us have witnessed the architectural wonders created by Romans. If we study the manner in which they built things, then we will quickly see how they cleverly used arches and how they were a vital part of Roman structures. While Rome didn’t actually invent the arch idea or concept, they did refine its use and recognizes the importance of the keystone within arches they make them work so well. They understood that arches allowed them to build using less material, and also allowed them to build higher structures because it greatly reduced the weight and strain.
We see how the Romans used arches to build aqueducts, bridges, and the amazing Colosseum. Long after the Roman Empire fell, their arches still stand today.
The most famous of all Romans, Julius Caesar, reformed the calendar because of intense Roman superstitions against even numbers which really screwed up the timeline. He was well aware of the solar year duration and then proposed a 12-month time system, and then named each of the months. We can still see the Roman influence in the names of our current months (for instance, Augustus and July). If we want to nitpick, Caesar’s calendar may be off by 11 1/2 minutes, but we use it today just as he designed it.
We have all heard the famous expression, “All Roads Lead to Rome”. This sentence does not just refer to the size of the Roman Empire. It is also because the Ancient Romans actually invented roads (as well as concrete). The “highways” of those times were constructed mostly for trade and the military, but the Romans built them so well that lots of them are being used today. They built approximately 55,000 miles of roads across the Empire. They were made from dirt, gravel, and granite. Incidentally, Romans were also the first to begin using road signs as well.
Perhaps the most Roman influence in today’s society is evident in existing legal systems. Many national governments of today are based on the Roman republic. And numerous elements of today’s law such as pro-Bono, habeas corpus, and the affidavit have been derived straight from the Twelve Tables. These Twelve Tables were adopted in 450 BC and were actually the world’s first resemblance of a constitution. They addressed various laws that pertained to family, property, and different crimes. These Twelve Tables were eventually replaced by the Corpus Juris Civilis, which is a legal system that has had an incredible influence on existing civil laws in countless nations.
We have all seen the famous Roman aqueducts that delivered fresh water straight into Ancient Roman cities. And then there were Roman sewers which removed human waste on a daily basis. This along with the Roman baths indicated that Rome was very serious about public health and personal hygiene. Rome and their surrounding major cities had developed a very intense network of drainage systems and sewer tunnels. Even though dumping waste directly in the Tiber River is not the best thing to do, we cannot doubt that Roman plumbing transformed the world in terms of public health.
Throughout ancient history, most civilizations used parchment scrolls or heavy tablets. The Ancient Romans were no different – before they created bound books. It is true; our bound paperback books are here because of the Romans. These big stacks of animal skins and bound parchments are what resemble bound books most closely. So whenever the students of today struggle to lug around several volumes of textbooks from class to class, they can thank the Romans. Even the Christians who lived during those times used this method to bind the very first editions of The Holy Bible.
It was the Roman Empire that first sought a means to financially help citizens that were less fortunate. The initial step that led to welfare was a 122 BC law known as Lex Frumentaria, where the government sold grain to poor people for cheap prices. After that, Emperor August began giving away grain to the poor every month. Some decades later, Emperor Trajan took welfare a step further through his alimenta program where the government gave away general funds, food, and subsidized education to poor citizens.