Road Systems Of The Roman Empire Essay

, Research Paper

Within this section of our report I would like to address which emperors had major contributions in the building of Rome’s road system, and why these roads were important. Herein we will be looking at the emperors Gaius Octavius (Augustus), Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanius (Claudius I), and Marcus Ulpius Trajanus (Trajan), for these emperors seemed to vastly expand the empire which in turn leads to the building of new road systems. Augustus and Trajan seemed to have a direct influence in the building of roadways and causeways during their reins as emperor.

First lets look at Augustus, who was emperor 27 BC – AD 14, and in 27 BC he was named curator viarum for the via Aemilia, and also built a triumphal arch to commemorate the junction of the Flamian Way and the Aemilia. During 13 -12 BC the Julia Augusta was built and named after Augustus that stretched from Piacenza to the Var and along the valleys of the Argens. Additionally he took the task of building the eastern via Julia in 2 BC that lead from Aquileia to Ad Tricesium. Augustus also has landmarks in the Po Valley were he built a section of the Claudia Augusta (named for Claudius).

When we look at Trajan we first must clarify that the Roman road systems primary purpose was to serve the military. For most of Trajan’s works, with-respect-to the roads were strategic roads (i.e. Mainz – Baden – Offenburg, Mainz – Cologne – Vetera, and one to Nijmegen). One of Trajan’s most notable routes is one that is named after himself, the via Traiana, that was constructed between Beneventum and Brundusium. It should also be known that he financed this construction with his own funds.

Although we are looking at the significant roads built during the imperial period of Rome (27 BC – AD 117), it would be a major oversight not to mention the Via Appia (Appian Way). The Appia was the first major link to the south and was planned by the censor Appius Claudius Caecus in 312 BC. The Appia went as far south as Capua until it was extended from Beneventum to Brundusium, via the Beneventum, Acclanum, Venusia, and Tarentum. The Appia was foremost a coastal road measuring 350 miles that followed the Tyrrhanian Sea, compared to the Flamian Way that was the inland route most heavily traveled.

The following web address is a link to an overview of the Roman Empire and its road system:


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