5 Inventions of Ancient Rome That Changed the World

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The Roman Empire is considered one of the most influential civilizations of all time. From the Colosseum to the aqueducts, the influence of the Roman Empire on the formation of Western history is extremely great. Even the first gambling games appeared in ancient Rome, and now Casino is available online.

Although many historical developments and innovations have not survived the test of time, some of them are still part of our daily lives. These 7 ancient Roman inventions still have an impact today.

Roman Numerals

Roman numerals originated in ancient Rome but were used for a long time after the collapse of the Roman Empire. The numbers in the system are represented by combinations of letters of the Latin alphabet. Starting in the 14th century, Roman numerals began to be replaced by Arabic numerals, which used zero, which made them much more useful for arithmetic and counting. Nevertheless, Roman numerals are still found today – most often on dials or to indicate architecture dates.

Sewerage and Plumbing

The Romans were very skilled in the field of civil engineering. Most of all, their engineering excellence is emphasized by their sewerage system. Drainage pipes were connected into a single system and regularly washed with water from streams. The sewer system of Ancient Rome still functions as a storm sewer, being a collector for collecting storm drains in the area of the Palatine and Capitol.

Architectural Arches

Although the Romans were not the ones who invented the arch, they designed the architectural arch to allow them to build bridges, larger buildings, and better aqueducts.

The arch directs pressure down and out, creating a strong passage under it that can support heavy structures. This is called compressive stress because the pressure of the load is compressed by the shape of the arch. The arch allowed the ancient builders to build larger and more complex buildings that could accommodate more space and people.

The Romans usually used arches with round tops, called rounded arches, which were made of stone, as well as a series of rounded arches arranged side by side, called arcades.

In the first century BC, the Romans understood how to properly use arches in the construction of bridges, aqueducts, and buildings, which allowed expanding the infrastructure of the Roman Empire. The Roman arch became a fundamental aspect of Western architecture and gave rise to new construction systems throughout Europe.

Hypocaust System

Hypocaust was an antique heating system, somewhat similar to modern central heating or underfloor heating. These systems distributed heat from the fireplace in an open space under the floor. In addition, the Romans also built chimneys into the walls so that heat could pass through the upper floors and could safely escape through the roof.

At that time, it was an impressive engineering achievement, especially considering that the risks, in addition to poor-quality construction due to imperfect technologies and materials, also included carbon monoxide poisoning, smoke inhalation, or fire danger.

It is important to note that these systems were expensive and were usually used only in public buildings, large houses owned by wealthy Romans, as well as in steam rooms or Roman baths that had heated floors and walls.


The Romans built aqueducts to supply fresh water from nearby springs to their growing cities. And earlier civilizations in Egypt and India used aqueducts, but the Romans greatly improved their structure. The water supply process did not need an energy source to supply water, the movement was achieved only through the use of gravity.

Aqueducts were connected to a reservoir, from where the water was then distributed to public baths, fountains, farms, etc. What may seem easy and mundane today was an outstanding feat of engineering back in 312 BC.