Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Quotation for the day: H. J. Haskell

To mark today's sad event in which provincial agents set upon an enemy of the New Rome, we recall the true purpose of one of Old Rome's engineering triumphs:

The foundation of the transportation system that bound the Empire together was a vast network of highways, the famous Roman roads...At its height the Empire was gridironed by forty to fifty thousand miles of highway, of which thirteen thousand miles were in France and five thousand miles in Britain...

The great network of roads was of immense value for commerce.  But primarily it was a military system over which troops could speedily be transferred from one part of the Empire to another for the protection of the frontiers.  Also it enabled the central government to keep in close touch with central administration.
H. J. Haskell, The New Deal in Old Rome: How Government in the Ancient World Tried to Deal with Modern Problems (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1939; second edition, 1947) 24-5.
[Photo: historic-uk.com]

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