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This provided flexibility while also protecting the wearer from slashing blows by swords and daggers, which would simply glance off its hard outer surface. Chainmail was extremely labor intensive to make—a single vest might include tens of thousands of rings—so it tended to be worn by barbarian chieftains and aristocrats rather than rank and file soldiers. Drawing depicting Boudica on a chariot. During his campaigns in Britain in 55 and 54 B. These vehicles were usually two-horse affairs with iron-rimmed wheels and sturdy platforms made of wicker and wood.

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In combat, they functioned as a kind of ancient personnel carrier: drivers would drop a lone warrior near the fighting, race to safety and then return to pick the soldier up if he was injured or needed to withdraw. While she succeeded in razing three Roman Briton cities, her war charioteers were eventually hemmed in and slaughtered at the Battle of Watling Street.

When the Romans invaded modern day Spain in B. These warriors were renowned both for their guerilla fighting ability and their skill as sword-smiths and metalworkers. The weapon was weighted towards the tip, which allowed it to slash or stab its way through armor with relative ease. It was even known to cut Roman swords clean in half. The falcata served the barbarians well during more than years of warfare with Rome, and it was highly prized by the ancient general Hannibal, who equipped Carthaginian troops with it during the Second Punic War.

They were considered public or private, according to the fact of their original construction out of public or private funds or materials. Such a road, though privately constructed, became a public road when the memory of its private constructors had perished. Siculus Flaccus describes viae vicinales as roads " de publicis quae divertunt in agros et saepe ad alteras publicas perveniunt " which turn off the public roads into fields, and often reach to other public roads. The repairing authorities, in this case, were the magistri pagorum or magistrates of the cantons.

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.

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With the conquest of Italy, prepared viae were extended from Rome and its vicinity to outlying municipalities, sometimes overlying earlier roads. Building viae was a military responsibility and thus came under the jurisdiction of a consul. The process had a military name, viam munire , as though the via were a fortification. Municipalities, however, were responsible for their own roads, which the Romans called viae vicinales. The beauty and grandeur of the roads might tempt us to believe that any Roman citizen could use them for free, but this was not the case.

Tolls abounded, especially at bridges. Often they were collected at the city gate. Freight costs were made heavier still by import and export taxes. These were only the charges for using the roads. Costs of services on the journey went up from there. Financing road building was a Roman government responsibility. Maintenance, however, was generally left to the province. The officials tasked with fund-raising were the curatores viarum.

They had a number of methods available to them. Private citizens with an interest in the road could be asked to contribute to its repair. High officials might distribute largesse to be used for roads. Beyond those means, taxes were required. A via connected two cities. Viae were generally centrally placed in the countryside.

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. Indeed, all the various functionaries, not excluding the emperors themselves, who succeeded the censors in this portion of their duties, may be said to have exercised a devolved censorial jurisdiction.

The devolution to the censorial jurisdictions soon became a practical necessity, resulting from the growth of the Roman dominions and the diverse labors which detained the censors in the capital city. Certain ad hoc official bodies successively acted as constructing and repairing authorities.

Chariot | Definition of Chariot by Merriam-Webster

In Italy, the censorial responsibility passed to the commanders of the Roman armies, and later to special commissioners — and in some cases perhaps to the local magistrates. In the provinces, the consul or praetor and his legates received authority to deal directly with the contractor. The care of the streets and roads within the Roman territory was committed in the earliest times to the censors.

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.

Sidewalks were also provided. The aediles , probably by virtue of their responsibility for the freedom of traffic and policing the streets, co-operated with the censors and the bodies that succeeded them. It would seem that in the reign of Claudius AD the quaestors had become responsible for the paving of the streets of Rome, or at least shared that responsibility with the quattuorviri viarum.

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. The official bodies which first succeeded the censors in the care of the streets and roads were two in number. They were: [9].

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Both these bodies were probably of ancient origin, but the true year of their institution is unknown. The quattuorviri were afterwards called Quattuorviri viarum curandarum. The extent of jurisdiction of the Duoviri is derived from their full title as Duoviri viis extra propiusve urbem Romam passus mille purgandis. In case of an emergency in the condition of a particular road, men of influence and liberality were appointed, or voluntarily acted, as curatores or temporary commissioners to superintend the work of repair.

Among those who performed this duty in connection with particular roads was Julius Caesar , who became curator 67 BC of the Via Appia, and spent his own money liberally upon it. Certain persons appear also to have acted alone and taken responsibility for certain roads. In the country districts, as has been stated, the magistri pagorum had authority to maintain the viae vicinales.

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Roman roads

The portion of any street which passed a temple or public building was repaired by the aediles at the public expense. 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. No doubt [ speculation? The governing structure was changed by Augustus. In the course of his reconstitution of the urban administration he created new offices in connection with the public works, streets, and aqueducts of Rome. He found [ clarification needed ] the quattuorviri and duoviri forming part of the body of magistrates known as vigintisexviri.

The latter were certainly still in existence under Hadrian — Dio Cassius relates that Augustus personally accepted the post of superintendent. Moreover, he appointed men of praetorian rank to be road-makers, assigning to each of them two lictors.


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He also made the office of curator of each of the great public roads a perpetual magistracy, instead of a special and temporary commission, as had been the case hitherto. In Augustus' capacity as supreme head of the public road system, he converted the temporary cura of each of the great roads into a permanent magistracy. The persons appointed under the new system were of senatorial or equestrian rank , according to the relative importance of the roads respectively assigned to them.

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It was the duty of each curator to issue contracts for the maintenance and repairs of his road, and to see that the contractor who undertook the work performed it faithfully, as to both quantity and quality. Moreover, he authorized the construction of sewers and removed obstructions to traffic, as the aediles did in Rome. It is noticeable that Claudius brought Corbulo to justice, and repaid the money which had been extorted from his victims.


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  • Special curatores for a term seem to have been appointed on occasion, even after the institution of the permanent magistrates bearing that title. Their names occur frequently in the inscriptions to restorers of roads and bridges. Ancient Rome boasted impressive technological feats, using many advances that would be lost in the Middle Ages.

    These accomplishments would not be rivaled until the Modern Age. Many practical Roman innovations were adopted from earlier designs. Some of the common, earlier designs incorporated arches.