Roman Road #6 (Into Asia and Africa)

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Roman Road #6 (Into Asia and Africa)

Postby Marcus Minucius Audens » Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:00 pm

>>>> Roman Road #6 (Into Asia and Africa) <<<<

The road now advanced to the water barrier known widely as the Hellspont. This barrier was much too wide to be bridged in a permanent way, but it was served, they say, by a ferry which is classed as efficient for the times. There is, and was, a road which traced the coast and which led to places like Smyrna, Ephesus, and the historical Troy. This road had been developed and cared for as a major means of transportation all through the period of the Roman Roads. Then, just prior to advancing to the city of Smyrna, the road divided and an interior branch led along the River Gediz, pointing upstream to an ancient city of Sardis. From this point the Roman Road became a part of the old Persian Royal Road which now extended farther into the Anatolian interior. Here, there were a variety of roads called collectively the ‘coastal roads’ which led to Gordium and Ankara. Tarsus was a familiar city and certainly familiar to the Apostle St. Paul as he traveled these roads into Syria and thence to Antioch. The city of Antioch, by the side of the River Orontes, was a major point of communication for the maintenance of the ‘strategic frontier system’ between the Parthians and Rome. This situation lasted until overtaken by the conquest of the Arab forces.

From Antioch, the roads reached to the East and to the twin rivers Tigris and Euphrates, then followed them. Then, there was the road South by name, “The Way To the Sea,” which led to Lebanon, Sidon, and Tyre, finally ending in Alexandria, Egypt. Now this road was an ancient trade route and utilized long before Trajan’s time. To the West of Egypt, stretched the long road which was wedged between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara desert. It passed through the Roman territories of Cyrenaica, Tripolitania, Numidia, African proper, and Mauritania. This was a great artery of commerce which bound these territories together. This fertile strip was valuable to Rome for its produce, but was vulnerable to raids from the desert tribes. It was along this area that Rome strived with the aid of the Third Augustan Legion to maintain a frontier with a series of forts and roads. This road extended even further to Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. We must remind all, of the much more extensive cultivation of this strip along the ancient sea, than we see in modern times, and so this task was a heavy one, and repetitious attacks by the desert Arabs never ceased. The roads extending South from cities like Sbeitla which stand pillared and deserted in the shifting sands of the desert disappear in the sand dunes of the desert. Now one of the hazards to traveling these usually lonely roads was the fact the occasional sand storms could completely obliterate a road from sight, and so these roads were very often constructed as causeways and marked with giant rocks called “gomphi” which projected above the covering dunes like symbolized dragon’s teeth! Bandits were also a major concern, and so VIP’s were provided with military escort, and along these African roads travelers were permitted to carry weapons, which was otherwise against the law!

Respectfully Submitted;
Marcus Audens
Marcus Minucius Audens

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