Greatest Ancient Roman contribution(s) to the world

What is/are the greatest Roman contribution(s) to the modern world?

  • The Julian Calendar (including current names of the months)

    Votes: 1 33.3%
  • The Roman alphabet (the world's most widespread writing system)

    Votes: 1 33.3%
  • Latin language and descendants + influence on other European languages

    Votes: 3 100.0%
  • The Roman legal system (basis of many European legal system to this day)

    Votes: 2 66.7%
  • The Republic & Senate (inspiration for modern democracies)

    Votes: 3 100.0%
  • Architectural styles (arches & columns, domes, sculptures, frescoes, mosaics...)

    Votes: 2 66.7%
  • Aqueducts and viaducts (the world's first bridges to cross valleys)

    Votes: 1 33.3%
  • Concrete/mortar/cement

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Efficient highway system (still followed today by modern roads)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Thermal baths, central heating and floor heating

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Mass entertainment : stadiums & amphitheatres (ancestors of modern stadiums)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Festivals (Carnival, Christmas, etc. all have Roman origins)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • The 3 course meal (starter, main dish, desert)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Wine-making (creating a lasting tradition in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Romania...)

    Votes: 1 33.3%
  • Other (please specify)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    3

Maciamo

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Not to confuse with the greatest Italian contributions to the world, here are now the ancient inventions, improvements and systems developed by the Romans that have had an influence on today's world.

A few explanations.

Architectural styles : the Roman were inspired by the Greeks. But they were the ones to use extensively the arch, mosaics and frescoes. They built the largest free-standing dome in the world until the 20th century (the Pantheon in Rome, 43m of diametre, or 1m wider than the Bruneleschi's Duomo in Firenze).

Aqueducts and viaducts merit a separate category. They were the ancestors of modern viaduct (suspension bridges, etc.). Aqueducts would bring drinkable water from hundreds of kilometres away and were designed with just the right inclination so that the water would not run too fast (and erode the stone), nor too slow (and evaporate or become muddy). Combined with canalisations and sewers, they enabled a city like Rome to sustain a population of over 1 million.

The Romans developed spectator sports beyond anything seen until then. The Greeks invented the Olympic Games (incl. stadiums), but the Romans gave us the idea of mass entertainment.

The Roman highways were so straight, plane and resistant that some are still used nowadays (e.g. Via Appia). Many modern European highways follow the old Roman highways, as they used the most direct route to connect cities (and most Roman cities still exist nowadays).

Wine-making was not invented by the Romans, but they planted so many vines throughout the empire, that they created a tradition in France, south-western Germany and Mediteranean countries lasting to this day. The world's greatest wines are direct heirs to Roman wines.

The Roman weren't the first to come up with central or floor heating or hot baths, but they certainly spread its used across the empire. Ironically, it is the Japanese who are fans of hot springs and baths nowadays, not the Europeans. But famous thermal springs still exist in Europe, and were especially popular in the 19th century. Some have Roman origins.

The Roman Senate was supposedly founded by Romulus 2756 years ago. The Republic is "only" 2514 years old, but was one of the oldest such system in the world, and one that deeply influenced modern democratic states. The Greek idea of "democracy" is probably further from the current "democratic" system than was the elitist Roman Republic (in fact, politicians nowadays are almost always the same few oligarchs, like in Roman times).

The Julian Calendar, name after its inventor (Gaius Julius "Caesar"), is almost identical to the modern Western calendar reformed by Pope Gregory 1600 years later, and still used by many national Orthodox churches. It has/had all the current months, which names all have meanings in Latin : January (from "Janus", god of the beginning of times), February (from "Februa" a Roman festival), March (from "Mars", the god of war), April (from "aprire" meaning "open", referring to the blossoming of spring), May (from "Maia", goddess of the fertility), June (from "Juno", goddess of women and marriage, hence the expression "June bride"), July (from Julius Caesar himself), August (from emperor Augustus), September ("7th", as March was the 1st month at the time, and September was thus the 7th month), October ("8th"), etc.

The Romans seem to have been the ones to introduce the system of 3-course meal (starter, main dish, desert), inherited by most Western cultures. Note that in India, China, Japan, etc. there is no such tradition.
 
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Concrete.

The Romans appear to have invented concrete.

Think of the world without it. (I'd be out of a job!)

?W????
 
Hmmmmmm...

I'd have to go with highways(even more useful now then in Roman times due to cars), aqueducts(the basics of modern plumbing and arched bridges in one go), architectural styles(the Romans constructed many great buildings/structures that still stand today), and of course, the 3-course meal!(I can't seem to live without it! :happy: )
 
Maciamo said:
The Romans seem to have been the ones to introduce the system of 3-course meal (starter, main dish, desert), inherited by most Western cultures. Note that in India, China, Japan, etc. there is no such tradition.

I think you mean appetizer, not starter.

Well, according to the Cooking Master Boy anime (an anime about Chinese cooking), 18th century Chinese have a 3 or 4-course meal (first: appetizer, second: dessert, third and/or fourth: main dishes. That was what I had observed on the judges' table during a cooking contest in one of the Cooking Master Boy episodes.
 
Zauriel said:
I think you mean appetizer, not starter.

No I mean starter (even if that is British English), not appetizer. Appetizers are small dishes or food (e.g. crisps, olives, prunes in bacon...) eaten with an aperitif (e.g. Campari, Martini, Champagne...) before the starters. Starters may be soup, salad, or other small dishes. Appetizers are more common when inviting someone at home than in restaurants.

Well, according to the Cooking Master Boy anime (an anime about Chinese cooking), 18th century Chinese have a 3 or 4-course meal (first: appetizer, second: dessert, third and/or fourth: main dishes. That was what I had observed on the judges' table during a cooking contest in one of the Cooking Master Boy episodes.

Well, I have just returned from a trip to China yesterday, and as is usually in alll real Chinese restaurant around the world, the Chinese indeed eat many dishes (sometimes called "course", although this is misleading here), which they all bring at the same time on a revolving table and are shared by al the guests. The sweets are brought in together with the soup and meat & vegetable dishes. In some Chinese restaurants in Western countries, dishes may be brought one after the other, but in that case there are more than 3 courses (maybe 5, 10 or even 20).

Note that the French broke with Roman tradition by adding "cheese" between the main dish and desert.
 
Bloody Romans...

Well I'm no fan of the Romans... so I would point out that few of the advances mentioned were first to appear among the Romans. Harappan urban design was far superior, plumbing of course existed among many civilizations, including the Aztecs, who also had water-delivery systems bringing fresh water to their island capital from the hills.

Roman social organization has affected Europe quite negatively, being the basis for the aristocratic class structure and slave/serf economies which were disastrous for European people and have inflicted much pain upon the world generally since Columbus.

What is more generally overlooked is the great contribution of not only "Celtic" but also more indigenous European societies. Too often the schools pretend that European roots are all in Greece and Rome, and ignore the rest... this is not accurate... any more than are the Greek and Roman disparagements of the Celts and other "barbarians".
 
Too often the schools pretend that European roots are all in Greece and Rome, and ignore the rest... this is not accurate... any more than are the Greek and Roman disparagements of the Celts and other "barbarians".

I'll second that emotion... :wary2: Classical scholars have been overly-biased toward Greco-Roman culture. e.g. The 'Dark Ages' in England have been dismissed as a black hole, whereas there were many aspects of Anglo Saxon culture way ahead of the times; including equal property rights for women. I reckon these biases are still prevalent in academic circles.
 
Believe it or not, the Germanics, particularly the Visigoths and Suevi, made some interesting contributions in Iberia; in agriculture, property rights and legal structure.
 
Maciamo

I think you are wrong on the three course meal. We have the three course meal not from the Romans but from the Moors who ruled Andalucia.
 
Maciamo

I think you are wrong on the three course meal. We have the three course meal not from the Romans but from the Moors who ruled Andalucia.

I doubt so. The Moors had little influence at all over European culture outside Iberia. Iberia was quite isolated from the rest of Europe during the Middle Ages.

It is weird that the Moors should have had a three-course meal, as modern Maghreban and Arabic cultures usually lack it. Arabic and Moor cuisine is/was so different from European cuisine that it is hardly conceivable.

Roman culture evolved with time, and wasn't the same in all regions and social classes. But, rich Romans during the Empire's period, at least in Western Europe, did generally have a three-course meal.

Over the course of the Republican period, the cena developed into two courses: a main course and a dessert with fruit and seafood (e.g. molluscs, shrimp). By the end of the Republic, it was usual for the meal to be served in three parts: first course (gustatio), main course (primae mensae), and dessert (secundae mensae).

Source

The poor did not have the basic cooking facilities at home and had to go to the local baker, or pistor , to get wheat cooked. On the other hand, the rich had lavish meals that portrayed their social status. The dinner or cena consisted of three-course meal. The first course, gustus , consisted of muslum (wine mixed with honey) served with salads, eggs, shellfish and mushrooms. The second meal, lena consisted of meat like pork, poultry, fish, game, exotic birds, all served with vegetables. The final course was the dessert course. It was referred to as secundae mensae , or second table since after the first two meals, the entire table was removed and a new one was set. The dessert consisted of fruits, honey cakes, nuts and wine. Dinners were laid in the dining hall of the house, also called as triclinium .

Source.

For the poor, most meals were cereal (porridge or bread) supplemented by meat and vegetables if available. For the more wealthy, the main meal was divided into three courses: gustatio or promulsis, prima mensa and secunda mensa. Gustatio was an appetizer, usually eggs, raw vegetables, fish or shellfish, prepared simply, eaten with mulsum (wine sweetened with honey). The main course (prima mensa) consisted of cooked vegetables and meat (fish, game, poultry, pork), served with wine. The secunda mensa was sweet course or dessert, consisting of fruit or sweet pastries.

Source
 
Maciamo

I think you are wrong on the three course meal. We have the three course meal not from the Romans but from the Moors who ruled Andalucia.

I see this guy was banned but I'm going to reply him anyways: Moors didn't ruled Andalucia. You should have said muslims ruled Al-Andalus, it's more accurate.

I suspect from your posts archive that you must be a muslim from the Balcans and If I'm right about it you should be ashamed of not knowing the difference between these concepts.

Greetings.
 
I see this guy was banned but I'm going to reply him anyways: Moors didn't ruled Andalucia. You should have said muslims ruled Al-Andalus, it's more accurate.

I suspect from your posts archive that you must be a muslim from the Balcans and If I'm right about it you should be ashamed of not knowing the difference between these concepts.

Greetings.

Can you correct someone without going to ethnic cleansing?
 
Really a good list of the Roman attainments.

However, I want to emphasize the Architectural (the first 5 points of the list) and Linguistic.

Latin was the origin of Romance languages (French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, etc.) which are very important in Europe today. With very little invest in time and effort, a French speaker could beginn to understand clearly a text in (e.g.) Spanish or Romanian.

(Really, I believe it is a shame that those possibilties of mutual comprehension, are not adecuatly exploited)

Not only that, but almost all other European languages of other families (specially English) are enormously influenced by the Latin language.

Finally, with exception of Cyrilic region, or punctual cases (Georgian), the Latin characters are practically of universal use in Europe (and America), and much more. Even Chinese and Japanese discuss publicly from time to time the question of Romanization.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Regarding Architecture, the Romans extended the Greek conceptions, and created new ones, specially in the cuestion of "configuration of Space".

The architecture of the Greek refered mostly to open spaces, while the Romans tried to enclose space, and in much larger scale (e.g. basilicas, the Roman Pantheon, Thermae).

pantheon1.jpg


pantheon.jpg


termas-de-caracalla.jpg


Termas+de+caracalla.jpg


termas_de_caracalla.jpg
 
A 360 degree view from inside the ruins of the Caracalla Thermae

http://www.italyguides.it/us/roma/baths_of_caracalla/baths_of_caracalla2.htm

http://www.italyguides.it/us/roma/baths_of_caracalla/baths_of_caracalla3.htm

Inside the Roman Pantheon:
http://www.italyguides.it/us/roma/r...h/roman_pantheon/interior-of-the-pantheon.htm

(A recommed to use "fullscreen" and then,
the right - left arrows at the bottom of the screen)

Regards.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

In general, this site is great:
http://www.italyguides.it/us/roma/rome_italy_travel.htm
 
Regarding the Roman writing system, well, I have commented about it already...

Being that Maciamo is a person well versed in a very different and very complex writing system, Japanese, I am sure he will be interested in comparing the Latin vs. Japanese/Chinese writing.

Time-line of the mayority of writing systems of the World:

http://www.ancientscripts.com/ws_timeline.html

(Each name-hyperlink leads to a full explanation of the system).

+++++++++++++++++++++++

I once read, that altough the Latin script was the most successful of the world, it is not the "best" for the experts on this matters. They believe the Korean "Hangul" to be the most "perfect" writing system.

Roman script:
http://www.ancientscripts.com/latin.html

Hangul:
http://www.ancientscripts.com/korean.html


++++++++++++++++++++++++

Apart, I sadly see that most of the scripts originated in my country like Maya or Zapotec (and really they were created from zero, thing that not even the Chinese could claim) didn't make it to modern times...

Maya was a sistem somehow similar to modern Japanese, or ancient Egyptian...

Maya:
http://www.ancientscripts.com/maya.html

Japanese:
http://www.ancientscripts.com/japanese.html

Regards.
 
I see this guy was banned but I'm going to reply him anyways: Moors didn't ruled Andalucia. You should have said muslims ruled Al-Andalus, it's more accurate.

I suspect from your posts archive that you must be a muslim from the Balcans and If I'm right about it you should be ashamed of not knowing the difference between these concepts.

Greetings.

Why didn't you stop after first paragraph? It was a good answer based on knowledge. That's what these discussions should be about, right?

What is the purpose of second paragraph?
This is a simple character assassination. The only purpose of it is to shame the person and hurt his feelings, and in process feel better yourself. In fact it doesn't say much about the subject, but it shows author's character.

Hope this explains. ;)
 
What is the purpose of second paragraph?
This is a simple character assassination. The only purpose of it is to shame the person and hurt his feelings, and in process feel better yourself. In fact it doesn't say much about the subject, but it shows author's character.

Hope this explains. ;)

Woah, amazing stuff... so you can psicho-analize people you only barely know through internet. :eek:

I'm atonished by your gift. :petrified:

:rolleyes:
 
Oh, and just for the record: The word "moors" is used as an insult towards the muslims since the Middle Age. That was the main reason for me to correct Roni.

The fact that you think that I was trying to offend Roni just shows how ignorant you are.

Hope this explains. ;)
 
I see this guy was banned but I'm going to reply him anyways: Moors didn't ruled Andalucia. You should have said muslims ruled Al-Andalus, it's more accurate.

I suspect from your posts archive that you must be a muslim from the Balcans and If I'm right about it you should be ashamed of not knowing the difference between these concepts.

Greetings.


That guy was just another internet troll. Probably left school in the third grade. They are all over the place.
 

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