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Review - Video - Where did it Come From? Ancient Rome: The Mobile Society

What really set Rome apart in the ancient world was their vast highway system and the amazing engineering of the roads.

In 312 BC, there was about 53,000 miles of roadways.

Roads and bridges were built as a way for soldiers to get to the battle sites as well as for merchants to reach distant cities.

Via Appai, "The Appian Way", 350 miles long, was named after Appius.

    The process for building a roadway included:
  • 1. Dig a trench just under 3 ft
  • 2. Fill the trench with large stones
  • 3. Next, fill the trench with small stones and a lime-water mix
  • 4. Next, lay down some gravel and flint and pack it down
  • 5. Finally, neatly level and lay down flat paving stones

Roads were crowned to allow water to slope to the sides and run off.

Not all roads were paved, some were gravel.

A Roman Surveyor was sent to evaluate the terrain/land.

Flaminian Way went through the mountain. A crew of men used a process of heating the rock and then cooling it quickly to create fissures. Then they used chisels and hammers to break through the solid rock.

Milvius Bridge, 142 BC, was the first bridge made of stone. Guidebooks existed in ancient times. During the Pax Romana (Period of Peace), many tourists and travellers came through.

The Roman Mile was measured as 1000 paces a Roman soldier could walk. Mile came from mille, the Latin word for 1000.

Vehicle rentals were made available, including wagons, carts, carriages, horses, mules and a driver.

Full service rest stops ("road houses") also sprang up at regular intervals.

Mile stones (like our modern day mile marker) showed the name of the town, distance, and name of the stone builder.

There were four major roads into Rome: Via Appia Via Latina Via Flaminia Via Aurelio

Review - Video - Cities of the Underworld - Gladiators: Blood Sport

In the Third Season of the video documentary series Cities of the Underworld, Don Wildman takes us inside some unusual places such as Las Vegas' Secret Sin City, Hitler's Trenches, Alcatraz Down Under and four disc's worth of other explorations. The episode we're reviewing today is the "Gladiators: Blood Sport" where Don inspects crypts and chambers used for worship and the training school. Ludus Magnus is the largest training ground with tunnels to the Colosseum. It was over 100 yards long and over three stories high with walls of gleaming marble. The complex contained barracks, kitchens, medical facilities, weapons factory and was strictly guarded (especially since a lot of gladiators were slaves). Weapons mimiced those of conquered foreign armies. Spartacus was a Thracian slave, forced into gladiatorial school. He revolted with 80 others, taking carts of weapons and kitchen knives. Eventually he had over 120,000 men and fought for 2 years. However, they were outnumbered by the Roman army and Spartacus died. The rebels were impaled along the main road, Via Appia (Appian Way) (people are also buried along this road). Weapon-handling became very closely guarded after this. Gladiatorial games were financed by Senators and wealthy men to gain more prestige among fellow men and to garner support for political careers. Julius Caesar regularly borrowed money to pay for game to increase his popularity. The first gladiatorial games were held at the Old Cattle Market where two men fought to the death during a small funerary ceremony. Average lifespan for a gladiator was 25 years even with the best foods and medical services available at the time. Gladiators were buried according to "position". The last gladiatorial game was held in 404 AD.