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Roman Republic: Res publica Romana • View topic - Roman Roads #7 (Transportation By Road)

Roman Roads #7 (Transportation By Road)

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Roman Roads #7 (Transportation By Road)

Postby Marcus Minucius Audens » Sat Sep 10, 2016 9:47 pm



In this period of the world, travel was a very dangerous thing. and usually only those who were well prepared for problems made it through all right. Of the wealthy and prominent of citizens who hired guards to go with them along the roads, to keep them from the many hazards described in many of the ancient texts, the task was not quite so frightening. There are accounts of man-eating dogs living off dead bodies lying close by the road, from earlier robberies, murder, and ambush of lone riders, wagons, and small groups. There are numerous accounts of bandits and kidnappers who often gave over their new prisoners to the local villa-owners to imprison, for a fee. Then there were the many tolls to be paid, custom fees at frontier borders, town fees, and sometimes personal fees with armed men to back up the demand. All these things were rampant on these roads because they were the only pathways to personal or commercial satisfaction. Normal concerns like weather, road conditions, streams and rivers, animal or equipment breakdown, and spare parts carried, were all also concerns regardless of what age is being discussed. :(

Three ancient Roman carvings indicate different ways of travel over Roman Roads, First was a group moving along the road, over a hill, using horses or mules as pack animals to carry their materials. In all likelyhood the people were also mounted. This was probably the easiest and cheapest way to travel, besides walking, and the most uncomfortable, particularly in bad weather. However, as with all anuimals food, hay, and water for both rider and animal, over a long distance, can be both heavy and bulky. :)

The second carving depicts a wagon laden with barrels; wine, garum, or whatever and is unknown. The wagon itself is a sturdy wagon and strongly built, but for that very heavy. The cargo would add a great deal of weight. The two oxen are slow plodding animals only a fraction faster than a pack-horse or mule, and the tarriffs on both wagon and cargo would be much higher. A heavy wagon like this would also have met with soft spots in the road, flooded now by rain, and the problems of either fording a stream or deciding on the strength of any bridge that happened to be over the stream. Travels in the winter and spring when freshets of water were a part of every day, were also a threat to continued advancement. Carrying sufficient water, food, and hay for the animals would also be a requirement. :?

The third carving shows a medium sized wagon with a covered enclosure. This wagon is also strongly built, and pulled by a pair of horses. Judging from the size of the driver, the wagon could probably hold no more than four passengers with baggage. However, some of the problems were that not many people owned or could use such an expensive carriage, so this usage was usually reserved again for the wealthy or important people. Also such carriages were usually accompanied by guards of some kind, and this whole group would pay dearly at the place where fees were demanded. Horses require water, hay, feed, and rest on a daily basis, particularly in bad weather, and pulling such a wagon through muddy, flooded roads. :D

The three carvings will be drawn out and displayed here as soon as the drawings are completed.

We will cover travel by ship in the next Roman Roads Section #8.

Respectfully Submitted;
Marcus Audens
Marcus Minucius Audens
 

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