How Did the Ancient Romans Manage to Build Perfectly Straight, Ultra Durable Roads?

Check out Brilliant:
If you happen to like our videos and have a few bucks to spare to support our efforts, check out our Patreon page where we've got a variety of perks for our Patrons, including Simon's voice on your GPS and the ever requested Simon Whistler whistling package:
This video is #sponsored by Brilliant.
→Some of our favorites:
→Subscribe for new videos every day!
Follow Simon on social media:
Never run out of things to say at the water cooler with TodayIFoundOut! Brand new videos 7 days a week!
More from TodayIFoundOut:
The Curious Case of Famed Philosopher Jeremy Bentham's Body
The Curious Case of the "Law of the Tongue"
In this video:
The ancient Romans were a people famed for their architectural prowess, something no better demonstrated than by their ability to build almost perfectly straight and incredibly durable roads spanning expansive distances. For example, in Britain alone, the Romans built well over 50,000 miles of roads with the longest ruler-straight stretch spanning over 50 miles. They did all of this in an era without modern surveying tools, construction equipment, or even very accurate maps of precisely where their destination was for many of the areas. So how did they do it?
Want the text version?:




  • Thanks again to Brilliant for sponsoring this one! If Brilliant sounds interesting to you, please do go help support Todayifoundout using this link: Thanks!

    Today I Found OutToday I Found Out29 gün önce
    • I can understand having an ad before the video so you can be monetized, but then you have to stick an ad in saying this video is sponsored. So, not only do you get monitized, but then get sponsered too forcing people to watch or have to fast forward. Think I will unsubscribe. So should everyone else, then you can depend on your sponsor.

      Randy FitzpatrickRandy Fitzpatrick27 gün önce
    • Hi Babish! 🎊

      Cooking My WayCooking My Way27 gün önce
    • No one cares get off the internet

      Frank CastleFrank Castle28 gün önce
  • These stories of Nero were fabricated by the Christians... just as christians fabricate their stories (lies) today.

    JacobJacobSaatler önce
  • He said that Nero "cut the price of corn." I thought corn did not reach Europe until after Columbus? Was there some kind of corn ancestor that was like maize?

    CJ KellyCJ Kelly2 gün önce
    • @Michael Wlazlinski Thanks very much, Mr. Wlazinski. Appreciate it.

      CJ KellyCJ Kelly10 saatler önce
    • No. Corn was a term for grain in general way back then.

      Michael WlazlinskiMichael Wlazlinski21 saatler önce
  • How did the romans make roads 2000yo? Basically the same way we do today lol

    Brad CupittBrad Cupitt2 gün önce
  • This thing about building a perfectly straight road up and down a mountain instead of around it sounds pretty obsessional, and as if decision-making took place at the centre, not on the ground: typical of a military more than an engineering mind-set. It was also something a conquering army could do, when they weren't bothered about who owned or cultivated the land, or whether it was inhabited or sacred. The local ruler couldn't ignore all that.

    Faithless HoundFaithless Hound2 gün önce
  • Wait! Are we just gonna gloss over the Marie Antoinette thing??? I need more info!

    Robert MillsRobert Mills3 gün önce
  • Cult + Time = Religion

    A FigA Fig3 gün önce
  • I doubt they started building a road not knowing which way to go

    Ryan BoscoeRyan Boscoe3 gün önce
  • 13:14 I looked it up because I thought it sounded dubious that Paul the Apostle would've written to Seneca or vice versa &, at least judging by the Wikipedia article on Seneca the Younger, that letter was a fake one created by Christians in the 4th century.

    buffypythonbuffypython3 gün önce
  • Serious question Simon...can you recall everything you talk about?

    haza bazzahaza bazza4 gün önce
  • TraitorVekTraitorVek5 gün önce
  • @14:36 "...cut the price of corn...." Romans had corn? Am I hearing him incorrectly?

    K MitchellK Mitchell5 gün önce
    • @Faithless Hound Hahah dead on, I'm an American! Thanks mate I never knew!

      K MitchellK Mitchell2 gün önce
    • No. "Corn" doesn't mean in English what it does in 'Murcan. It means grain, usually wheat.

      Faithless HoundFaithless Hound2 gün önce
  • I’m not saying it was aliens...... but it was aliens

    Darth Star KillerDarth Star Killer8 gün önce
  • You forgot to mention the distance between brothels.

    A KA K8 gün önce
  • "what's your favourite song?" "1, 000, 000 paces"

    HoodiiHoodii10 gün önce
  • In monarchy the state is private and usually all private properties are much better built and maintained, than public ones.

    DovarDovar11 gün önce
  • Who says thenRomans built them in the first place? Could they have been built by the Tartarians? @ Newearth and When the Survivors of Atlantis wake up series channel by Sylvi Ivanova. Or try John Levi 's channel.

    Colin KoblanskiColin Koblanski12 gün önce
  • So it's not like they needed a master's degree in quantum mechanics to do it then. :P

    A Jim FanA Jim Fan12 gün önce
  • They found the top OCD people and set them to the task. Problem solved.

    Matthew RowellMatthew Rowell13 gün önce
  • Simon, are you our reptilian overlord from the Roman empire?

    Digital Demonic DavrosDigital Demonic Davros13 gün önce
  • Alle Wege führen nach Rom =)

    IlIlIlIlIlIlIlIlIlIlIlIl14 gün önce
  • How did he cut the price of corn? Corn wasn't introduced to Europe at that time

    Naomi EricssonNaomi Ericsson14 gün önce
  • "Boris" - no sorry, "Donald" - no try again " - "Nero was painted as a man who was difficult for the masses to trust". what goes around comes around, I suppose.

    Peter TurnerPeter Turner14 gün önce
  • Nero software was also named after nero as it allowed the user to burn cds from their computer which their operating system did not allow natively.

    eurosonlyeurosonly15 gün önce
  • Decimated has a whole different meaning when discussing ancient Rome. Best not to use it, unless describing a violent beating perpetuated by ten men.

    blackbarnzblackbarnz15 gün önce
  • Romans made roads to last 2000 years +, and today we can't get a road to last 5 years w/o potholes everywhere.

    bigbenisdamanbigbenisdaman15 gün önce
  • Roman roads are straight? That's hate speech! (Yes that sounded every bit as ridiculous as it sounded).

    Arch. RSLArch. RSL15 gün önce
  • String.....................lots and lots of string.

    10 Minutes to Roulette Fortune10 Minutes to Roulette Fortune15 gün önce
  • What the hell is a switch back? (asking as an English speaker)

    TheChipmunk2008TheChipmunk200815 gün önce
    • @Helen Scott Ah thank you, i always thought that was a series of hairpin bends... thanks :) (I suspect this is different dialects at play yet again!)

      TheChipmunk2008TheChipmunk200815 gün önce
    • TheChipmunk2008 The road is built in diagonals, swapping moving from one direction for a small distance, then changing to an opposing diagonal. So the road is a series of z’s across the face of a steep hill or mountain.

      Helen ScottHelen Scott15 gün önce
  • Soooo, apparently fake news has existed for a LONG time.

    StormCaller5StormCaller515 gün önce
  • Simple answer: They didn't have Minnesotan winters.

    Rob HRob H15 gün önce
  • The Babylons have aqueducts too. Even to supply water to The Gardens Of Babylon Parks... More Italian lies are been uncovered lately.. And Columbus was not "The Great Navigatore".. He was lost and stumbled on the New World he foolish say was "part of India".. LOL.. Only idiots still believe so much Gumba Bullshit..

  • No wonder we went into the dark ages when Rome fell, and it seems as if they still outmatch us in some things many centuries later..

    LimmehLimmeh16 gün önce
  • Take like, five pencils. Place on at the start, on at finish. Line up the other three between them. The more pencils, the straighter the line.

    LaughingSeraphimLaughingSeraphim16 gün önce
  • Cement, Concrete? What? First recordrd cement and concrete was 1824...

    Perry PoehlmannPerry Poehlmann16 gün önce
  • Same people that brought you the Colosseum (sp?)

    Joseph IzzoJoseph Izzo16 gün önce
  • lol, so toll roads are nothing new?!

    nzoomednzoomed16 gün önce
  • Alright Simon. After a couple years watching this channel and Biographics and TopTenz I've finally subscribed. I finally remembered too. Appreciate all thr useless trivia you've given me. Cheers!

    voleNvoleN16 gün önce
  • Funny you used the word decimated to talk about rome burning since decimation was a roman practice of killing 1/10 of an army as opposed to, well most of it. This phrase then might be in fact accurate as opposed to our current interpretation. Also there some new evidence that rather than targeting Christian's directly he was targeting all unwelcome cults and primarily the cult of Isis. Since Jews were targeted as there had been problems with them in the empire for years it believed that Christian were rappped up in this since they were likely indistinguishable from Jews by the Romans at that point.

    Patt AdamsPatt Adams16 gün önce
  • Some say Nero was fiddling himself when the Rome burned.

    AliveC4TAliveC4T17 gün önce
  • Around the 14 minute mark, you state that Nero cut the price of corn or provided corn to Roman residents. I assume you are using corn in the older European meaning of grains in general since maize is a new world crop and would not have been present in Rome.

    Paleo ConPaleo Con17 gün önce
  • 200 miles in 24 hours is 16.6666666667mph

    Cero MiedicCero Miedic17 gün önce
  • The Christians were heavily invested in retelling the history of the early Roman empire, as one of persecution. There's significant evidence that stories of widespread persecution were greatly exaggerated. But it made the Christians feel like victims, and what do victims to, but lash out and attack their oppressors. The massive, systematic, and near total destruction of the classical world was accomplished by centuries of Christian persecution, starting from Constantine. These facts are important in light of talking about the apocryphal Nero fiddling while Rome burned.

    BlackBeltMonkeySongBlackBeltMonkeySong17 gün önce
  • *Viae Publicae* Libertarians: 🖕😠🖕 *Via Privatae* Libertarians: 👈😎👈

    Bruno PereiraBruno Pereira17 gün önce
  • They did it by , I don’t know ........... slave labor !

    RonaldreganfanRonaldreganfan18 gün önce
  • Nero probably didn't cut the price of corn.. new world food and all...

    william pomerleauwilliam pomerleau18 gün önce
    • @Charles Dewitt hey thanks for that, i'm only an egg. always new they were cereals, but that does make sense.

      william pomerleauwilliam pomerleau14 gün önce
    • Back before the Colombian exchange the word "corn" was often used to refer to grain.

      Charles DewittCharles Dewitt14 gün önce
  • Less traffic, less weight on each vehicle, lower travel speeds.

    Marius AdrianMarius Adrian18 gün önce
  • The images you've sourced are superb, but rather small onscreen. Perhaps full screen them and VO the images. Jumping from inset to full screen, as and when you're making a particular point that correlates with the image. Just a suggestion! Otherwise, superb, as ever. Fascinating insight. Thank you for sharing your great work. 👍😊

    Sam HaslamSam Haslam18 gün önce
  • How long would a road last that's been built by commenters on TRvision?

    hkistreethkistreet18 gün önce
  • I guess Nero wasn’t the only one falsely charged by people just trying to make him look bad o.o

    0MindSwept00MindSwept018 gün önce
  • Is it possible that “Nero played the fiddle while Rome burned” metaphorically, like as in Roman Empire failed while he was screwing around?

    Rachel RandantRachel Randant18 gün önce
  • I don't think that's the fiddle they're talkin about. The only instrument he was fiddling was his meat string.

    Toy MakerToy Maker20 gün önce
  • Having seen Roman artifacts over much of your-rope, I must give respect to Romans for Empire-ing like a boss.

    johnny dollarjohnny dollar20 gün önce
  • At about 10:40 , we hear that Nero "cut the price of corn, as well as provided food directly." Much as the fiddle wasn't invented until the 11th century, thought the discovery of corn happened when European explorers found the Indians growing it in America a millennia later.

    Scott9084Scott908420 gün önce
    • Corn doesn't refer to maize in that context.

      CurryKingWurstCurryKingWurst19 gün önce
  • Somebody teach the New Mexico DOT how to do these!

    BubbaSteve GarciaBubbaSteve Garcia20 gün önce
  • Don't judge, until you walk 1000 paces in their sandals

    Kyouko ToshinoKyouko Toshino20 gün önce
  • *_I love history~i live just couple of hundred feet from an 8th century Catholic Church. Was in use til recently when we got a bigger, granite Church._*

  • The Romans forgot to add on parking bays. The statement made that a mile is a thousand paces is rubbish . Since when is a pace 1,6 metres long ?

    Michael LawsonMichael Lawson20 gün önce
  • I haven’t watched the video.i never read the comments. Now to answer the question in the title. Maybe the roads lasted because chariots were light and slow. Maybe the roads were never salted or graded.

    Scott VincentScott Vincent21 gün önce
  • The myth that Nero fiddled while Rome burned is dramatized in the movie Quo Vadis.

    h lynn keithh lynn keith21 gün önce
  • Worst video you have ever done. I love your channels. Road part was good. Nero part was pointless

    Gerardo GutierrezGerardo Gutierrez21 gün önce
  • Game of cones in Rome et tu Brutus?

    Nelson SwanbergNelson Swanberg21 gün önce
  • Another vid I didn't know I( needed to see.

    ehrldawgehrldawg21 gün önce
  • He is great, but really cuts away at his legitimacy every time he uses imperial units. Its the age of science man, get on the 10s bandwagon and stop embarrassing scientists.

    JinJin22 gün önce
  • At a guess: The legions and being clever... ?

    chacha22 gün önce
  • So that's what the Romans did for us?

    colin Patersoncolin Paterson22 gün önce
  • The Romans did not build most of what is attributed to them, there are aquaducts in south America and Russia, places where the Romans never were and the design and materials are the same, stop believing the bullsh#$ we are taught in govt school. By the way I am an expert in Masonry and concrete, you are being told strait out lies! Believe what you want ,I know!

    james Warinnerjames Warinner22 gün önce
  • Thank you

    matrix49Amatrix49A22 gün önce
  • I was not aware that the Roman soldiers were called Legionnaires. I thought those were French soldiers. I believe that Roman soldiers were called Legionaries.

    Adam WrightAdam Wright22 gün önce
  • what is that neon light? i'm always thinking wall street journal...

    rillloudmotherrillloudmother22 gün önce
    • S W Stands for Simon Whistler.

      CurryKingWurstCurryKingWurst19 gün önce
How Did the Ancient Romans Manage to Build Perfectly Straight, Ultra Durable Roads?