发表于 2018-3-17 22:31
Civil and Structural Engineering|
The Romans were the undisputed masters of Civil Engineering withregards to the Western half of Eurasia, unchallenged to such an extent that ahuge portion of their former buildings still stand strong to this dayrelatively intact.
The Romans had 400,000 km of roads in total running through theentirety of their empire. Of this aforementioned number, roughly 85,000 km wasfully paved or roughly 21.25% of the total amount of roads. Even a thousandyears after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire (395–476 AD), Rome’sformer highways were still being used by the Medieval Europeans up until the1500s possibly.
Way stations meanwhile, were maintained all along this intricatesystem of travel infrastructure, to provide refreshments for weary travelers inneed of a good break after a long day’s travel. Officials and couriers inservice to the rich and powerful, often also had their own changing stations.All in all, on a good day, Roman citizens who were fortunate enough to usethese highways were able to move up to 800 km for every 24 hours worth oftravel.
The renowned (and also infamous) Via Appia for example spanned563 km in total, and was one of these many said roads which were utilized byduring the course of the Roman Empire:
Romans roads have been claimed to have been the most advancedfor its time, until the dawn of the 19th Century merely 100 years ago. Theywere constructed by digging a pit along the length of a designated course. Thepit was then filled with rocks, gravel or sand before finally also being toppedoff with a layer of concrete. And at last, when the aforementioned had beencompleted, the process was then concluded by being paved over with the use ofpolygonal rock slabs.
The Romans were also known to be avid builders of dams. In theformer territories of Roman Iberia for example, 72 large scale water barrierswere discovered in that particular region alone. Roman dams were so expertlycrafted in fact, and so well organized to such an extent that some of them arestill being used all across Europe to this very day. Several earthen dams havealso been discovered in Britain in recent times.
The Cornalvo Dam in Spain today is still in use to this very day(its walls at least), and was built sometime in the 1st-2nd centuries AD (ithas been in operation continuously for nearly 2,000 years), it measures 194 mlong, 20 m high, and 8 m wide:
The Romans also built bridges throughout their empire. A totalof 931 bridges in fact (most of which were Arch bridges) were built throughoutImperial Rome, prior to the fall of its Western half in 476 AD. Roman bridgeswere amongst the first large scale, and long lasting overpasses built inhistory.
Built with either stone, concrete or both, Roman wayovers oftenactively utilized the newly invented notions of the Roman Arch, both todecorate and strengthen the edifice as a whole. Arches acted to evenlydistribute the weight of a bridge making them stronger and longer. Directly asa consequence of such an innovation therefore, the Romans managed to constructsome incredibly lengthy bridges, far ahead of its time by hundreds of years.
A Roman bridge in Ponte da Vila Formosa, Portugal today, seenbelow:
一座位于现今葡萄牙Ponte da Vila Formosa的罗马桥梁，见下图：
For roughly 1,000 years for example, the Romans were privilegedenough to hold the world’s record for longest overpass with regards to overalland span length. Built by a Greco-Syrian engineer called Apollodorus ofDamascus, “Trajan’s bridge” as it was called, was the structure fortunateenough to hold this honour.
It was usually suspended above 18 m of water for the vastmajority of the time. It had a total length of 1,135 metres long. There were ofcourse other lengthy bridges which the Romans were fortunate enough to utilize,including the 135 metre Pons Aemilius in Rome, or even the 182metreAlcántarabridge.
Pontoon bridges in addition (horizontally inclined ships stackedside by side to form an overpass), whilst first invented by the Chinese over1,000 years earlier during the Iron age Zhou Dynasty (De facto rule: 1046–771BC; Nominal rule: 771–256 BC), was also recorded as having been activelyutilized by the Romans during the Imperial Era.
In one particular story for example, the Emperor Caligula (37–41AD), had had a pontoon bridge built just in order to walk across the bay fromone side to the other, in order to prove a seer wrong about an earlierprophecy, which had insisted that he certainly had no more chance of becomingthe Emperor of Rome than he did of riding a horse across the Bay of Baiae.Naturally, he had to prove her wrong of course, and had a bridge built acrossit to prove his point.
A depiction of a Roman Pontoon Bridge on the column of MarcusAurelius:
Sometimes whilst building such complex infrastructure, theRomans would be forced to come to a halt due to the cruel terrain of Europe,which actively obstructed their efforts with many annoying geographicalfeatures such as hills or mountains.
The Romans, a naturally adaptable peoples as such came up withthe concept of tunnels. Tunnel construction was highly difficult for theRomans, and often took years to build since the measurements had to be precise(which was not helped in any part by the disadvantages of Roman numerals), inorder to allow tunnels to meet in the middle (as they were dug out from bothsides of the hill simultaneously during the Imperial Era).
Constructing tunnels during the Roman times was so arduous infact, that a certain 5.6 km tunnel built in 41 AD by Emperor Claudius (reigned41–54 AD) in order to drain the Fucine Lake, took 30,000 workers 11 years tobuild. Nonetheless, Roman tunnelling technology was still highly advanced forits time, especially since the aforementioned tunnel commissioned by Claudius,also had shafts which went up to 122 metres deep.
A Roman tunnel dating back to the Imperial Roman Era:
The greatest Roman innovations in the field of Civil Engineeringhowever, would have to be with regards to the Aqueduct. Powered entire by theforces of gravity, Aqueducts were built to withstand the test of time to suchan extent that it was literally not equalled until merely a few decades ago.The existence of such superstructures allowed for the flow of water todifferent parts of the Empire, with extreme efficiency.
At places with depressions deeper than 50 metres meanwhile,inverted siphons (pipes that must dip below an obstruction to form a"U" shaped flow path) were used to viciously force water uphill.Otherwise, the water which an aqueduct permitted to be transported, was allowedto flow naturally without human interference because of the slanted waterchannels which lay beneath it. The longest aqueduct meanwhile was said to bethe one which supplied the former city of Carthage, described as being 178 kmin length.
As for the Capital of Rome meanwhile, the existence of 11aqueducts carrying 1,000,000 cubic metres of water each day allowed the city’s1 million people to stay adequately hydrated. It should be noted however thatgiven the combined productive capacities of Rome’s aqueducts, such a dailywater supply would have been sufficient even for 3.5 million peoplehypothetically.
The Segovia Aqueduct which can still be seen today in Spain, inpristine condition as should already be self-evident, due to its use of Romanconcrete:
Defensive walls, much like their eastern counterparts were alsoa core feature of Roman Civil Engineering. Though wall building had declinedsignificantly when compared to the times of the Roman Republic, they were stilla force to be reckoned with during the Imperial Era.
The Romans rarely just built a wall across the open country forfortificaition purposes, rather they built them primarily to protect cities.They usually built with brick and Roman concrete during the Imperial Era; animprovement from the preceding Roman Kingdom (753–509 BC) which had used drystone and sun dried bricks instead.
Thanks primarily to the Roman invention of opus caementicium,introduced previously, many Roman walls across the former territories of theRoman Empire are still standing to this very day. Though modern concrete hasbeen found to erode after only 50 years of exposure to seawater, in contrast toRoman concrete (the primary material of Roman ports) meanwhile which hassurvived intact to this day nearly 2,000 years after it was introduced.
The most famous of the Roman fortifications meanwhile, Hadrian’sWall in its heyday was 117.5 km long, 3-6 m thick and up to 6 m high. The wallhad a fort every 7.5 km meanwhile and took 6 years from 122–28 AD to complete.Due to a lack of water however, it was not made out of concrete, but had a corerather of earth or clay complemented with stones. The ruins of which can beseen below:
Although the Romans did not invent the wastage disposal systemthemselves (an invention which was already around by 3,100 BC, invented by theIndus Valley Civilization (3300–1300 BC)), they did however have a verysophisticated sanitation system meanwhile.
Roman Sanitation is best remembered still to this day forwidespread abundances of their Public Baths (Thermae). Roman Baths werepurposefully designed to have 3 separate facilities for bathing. The first wasApodyterium (Changing Room), in which a Roman citizen would undress to getready for the next stage of the bathing process.
From there, a bather would journey forth unto the “Warm Room”, afacility known as the Tepidarium, which had the sole purpose of preparing onefor the next room which was to follow, by only making it moderately hot inside.The last enclosure meanwhile was a true sauna unlike the previous, and wasknown (and rightfully so) as the “Hot Room” or Caldarium, which was complementedwith by a Labrum; a cold water fountain for self-evident reasons.
The Roman Baths at Bath, South-West England:
Roman sanitation was also defined both by the Flush Toilet, anda highly sophisticated system of drains and sewage. Bath water was recycled byusing it to dispose of excrement at the public toilets. The plumbing behindcity drains meanwhile was made of terracotta. And water during the Imperial Erawas even separated as to direct high quality variants to be used in drinkingand cooking, whilst its inferior quality counterparts meanwhile was utilizedonly for fountains and baths.
Last but not least meanwhile, was the phenomenon of RomanHousing. Roman houses in general were supremely well built as a rule, but therewas often quite a substantial difference between the rich and poor. The richoften inhabited single story houses called “Villas”, centered around a conceptcalled the “Atrium”. The Atrium had no roof, and was as such vulnerable toturbulent weather, but was designed to be as such in order to collect rainwaterin the troughs surrounding the house.
A reconstructed courtyard depicting the Atrium section of aRoman Villa:
The Atrium was succeeded by a second open courtyard known as thePeristylium, which included a garden and was interconnected with severaladjoining rooms; a case which was true for the Atrium before it also. Thehouses of the rich were centrally heated by a “hypocaust” (underfloor heating)and was supplied with fresh water brought direct to them from lead pipes.
The poor meanwhile lived in run down apartment blocks known as“Insulae”. Most of these shabby apartments only had two rooms at best, lackedproper facilities with running water, and was often extremely cramped anduncomfortable to live in.
Insula buildings usually had on average 6–7 apartments with theability to house over 40 separate unique individuals, despite being restrictedto a land area of 330m^2. The upper floors were especially known to be bothhazardous and poorly built however, hence most inhabitants preferred to live onthe lower to middle floors instead.
Ruins of an insula dating to the early 2nd century AD in theRoman port town of Ostia Antica:
In stark contrast to the Roman Empire meanwhile, few buildingsdating back to the Han Era have survived to this day for in depth study,because for the most part they were made primarily out of wood (timberdeteriorates quickly). Which by itself does not mean contrary to popular beliefthat the Han Chinese were inferior to their Western counterparts however,civilization use the means available to them to construct their buildings.
Neither stone nor marble were naturally abundant in thetraditional abodes of “China Proper”, wood by stark contrast was however hencemost Chinese buildings even to the end of the Imperial Era in 1912, were madeprimarily out of wood. In saying that though, the Han Empire was able to makesteady progress in the realms of Civil and Structural Engineering meanwhile.
The Chinese however, much unlike the Romans were not avidbuilders of bridges nor roads. Whilst the Romans built 400,000 km of roads (asmentioned before), 1/5 of which were paved, and also 931 bridges of which mostwere arched, the Chinese only had 2 arch variants out of a total of at least628 bridges (at least 67% of Rome’s numbers), and 35,400 km of roads (17.7% ofRoman total amount of roads), most of which were unpaved.
The Chinese during the Han Era, were however instead able tomake steady progress in the fields of Imperial civil engineering meanwhile. Thegreatest palace ever in the History of Man by area was built during the HanDynasty, the Weiyang “Endless” Palace, seen below:
Built primarily from timber in 200 BC at the personal request ofLiu Bang, First Emperor of the Han Dynasty (reigned 202–195 BC), the WeiyangPalace was described to be 1,200 acres (4.8 km^2) in area, making it 11 timesthe size of Vatican City today, or 6.7 times larger than the existing ForbiddenCity in Beijing or approximately 72 times the area of the Versailles Palace inFrance, thus making it was one of Imperial China’s greatest engineeringendeavours during the times of the Han Dynasty. It was also known to havereached 35 metres deep below ground level.
Outside the Weiyang palace meanwhile was the great city ofChang’an, the Capital of the Han Empire, and the second largest city of Eurasiaafter Rome, with regards to their population numbering approximately around400,000 individuals. Despite the fact that the city had merely 40% of Rome’s 1million people population, Chang’an, the city of “Eternal Peace” as it wascalled in Old Chinese was 4 times as large as Rome in terms of area.
And because the city of Rome had an area of 13.73 squarekilometres with a population density of 72,833 individuals per km^2, theChang’an derived area from this figure was 54.92 km^2 which gave it apopulation density meanwhile of 7,283 individuals per km^2, or almost exactly10 times less dense than the “City of the Seven Hills” in Italy.
A reconstructed Han Era Palace at Hengdian World Studios for thesole purposes of filming:
Divided into 11 neighbourhoods, the rich and the aristocracywere located in the City’s south, whilst the common people (artisans andmerchants) resided in the northeast. As for the city itself meanwhile, a 12gated wall with 8 avenues surrounded the Han Capital, itself surrounded by analso 8 metre wide moat.
Each of the aforementioned avenues was roughly 45–55 metreswide, the walls were 12 metres high, whist its perimeter was 25.7 km long.Evidence for the use both of stone and brick has also been discovered from Hanarchaeological sites surrounding the modern city of Xi’an (as it is calledtoday).
Speaking of walls however, though the Chinese like the Romansoften built city barriers to the same extent in both quality and quantity,their “free roaming” fortifications on the other hand meanwhile was likely tohave been much greater than their western counterparts, all due to theexistence of the Great Wall of China.
Though the Great Wall has been built many times over - mostrecent of which was during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644 AD) - the longestversion of the Wall was built over 2,000 years ago by the Han Chinese. TheChinese Wall was approximately 10,000 km across making it 85 times longer thanHadrian’s Wall, which to be fair was only so short because the width of Britainitself was not very wide across.
Remains of the Han Era section of the Great Wall of China todayin Dunhuang, Gansu Province, consistently 2.5 metres in height all across:
尽管长城已经建设多时了----最近的一次是在明朝（公元1368-1644年）--- 但是最长的部分却是由汉朝人修建。中国的长城，长度接近1万公里，85倍于哈德良长城， 坦白来讲，哈德良长城就短得多了，因为英国的宽度并不是很宽。
As the Great Wall was primarily situated in places far from thetraditional abodes of China Proper, wood could not be used to make it, andinstead the Chinese had to adapt. To this extent, sand and gravel was usedinstead for certain sections of the wall. Using rose willows and reeds, theChinese constructed the basic frames of the walls first, before piling them upin layers. Ground water with high salinity meanwhile, was used to consolidatesaid sand and gravel.
Much like Roman structures, despite experiencing erosion forover 2,000 years, because the wall was not made out of wood, it still stands tothis very day. After the Great Wall was at last finished by the Han Chinese, itwas also fortified with beacon towers placed apart for every 5 km of the HanEmpire’s northern borders. As a result, 20,000 towers ended up beingconstructed all along the Wall just for this purpose.
Beacon towers helped the Chinese to sound off warning of apreeminent invasion from abroad since at any given time it was always mannedwith garrisons upon garrisons of soldiers, who were instructed to generatesmoke during the day, and set alight torches at night (both of which can beseen up to 15 km away), in order to warn the Imperial Army of an imminentnomadic invasion from the hostile Turkic peoples known as the Xiongnu.
A Han Era beacon tower, “Yumen Pass”; one of merely 80 whichwere built during the Han Dynasty to act as countermeasure against possibleinvasion against the nomadic Xiongnu Empire:
Beacon towers during the Han Era were usually wide at the base andnarrower at the top. Often also square-based and tapered, they were mainlylocated well inside the Great Wall for obvious reasons. Usually also built onhigher terrain than the rest of the Wall which complemented it, some of thetowers reached 10 metres in height, though on general they were more likely tobe 7 metres with regards to the average structure.
Of course, not all the sections of the Wall were made out ofsand and gravel however. “Rammed-Earth” was another material used to builtcertain sections of the Han Empire’s Great Wall, and was also used in a varietyof different types of structures as well.
Rammed-Earth was a material used by the Early Imperial Chinesewhich was essentially hardened earth. Similar to stone in both durability andhardness, Rammed Earth was made by collecting a large amount of earth, gravel,sand, silt and clay before subsequently compressing it until it was extremelydense. Like Roman concrete, Rammed Earth was also extremely resistant to thedeteriorations resultant of time. As such, most Han Era ruins that still existto this day are often found to be those that were primarily made of RammedEarth.
Ruins of the former Han Chinese rammed earth city of Gaochangtoday in Modern China:
In fact, in a place where there were minimal if not absolutelyzero trees present, every Chinese structure virtually was made out of rammedearth, down to the last building.
As such, Han Era rammed earth granaries for example have beenfound to have survived to this day:
Along with Han Era Watchtowers as well, this one specifically islocated in Western Gansu:
With regards to Chinese subterranean structural engineeringmeanwhile, so far a minimum of 10,000 Han Era underground tombs have beendiscovered in Modern China today.
The tombs were made out of brick, hence they they have alsosurvived to this day apart from the fact that they were underground. The HanEra Chinese (possibly exclusively) were the most fond, and avid builders ofunderground Imperial tombs which were built for the rich, and powerful.
Brick Vaults and Domes were frequently used underground despitenot being used on the surface level. Han tombs were usually built in severalparts to contain 3 different enclosures: there was the front, side and rearchambers.
A Han Dynasty vaulted underground tomb:
The tomb of Prince Liu Shan for one, elder brother to Han Wudi,specifically had a front hall with window drapes and goods to accompany him inthe afterlife, with regards to the front hall. Carriages along withartificially produced horses meanwhile were located in the side chamber, whilstthe rear end contained storage goods.
Imperial tombs themselves were expertly crafted by cuttinghorizontally into the hillside of the mountains themselves, in order to forgethese great resting places for the beloved deceased. As they were exclusivelymade for the rich, the tombs were also designed to have a shaft like corridorleading onwards to a suite of rooms, in order to reflect the former layout ofthe deceased’s palace, whilst they were still alive. Essentially, the tomb wasto crafted like this as to be the dead individual’s home in the afterlife.
An Eastern Han (25–220 AD) tomb from the secondary Capital ofLuoyang:
And of course, all the luxuries which had graced them would alsobe present upon their one’s burial, including fine treasures such as gold,silver, weapons, jewellery, lacquer but most importantly also, jade.
It was from these tombs primarily, that information with regardsto the housing of the common Han people have also been discovered, in the formof ceramic and downsized replicas of real Han Era wooden architectures.
Within the areas of China Proper itself, timber was the primaryconstruction material so of course we have exactly zero remaining civilstructures from the Han Era, since they were made out of wood. Nonetheless, dueto references in both literature and by the aid of the underground ceramicmodels, there has been evidence to support the contention that the Han builtimmensely tall spires in their cities, to serve as astronomical observatories.
The houses of the rich meanwhile, in contrast to their Romancounterparts were often multi-storied. They all usually had a courtyard at thebottom, private fortifications, a balcony with balustrades, windows for everyfloor, and roof tiles to conceal the ceiling rafters. Case in point, here is anaristocrat’s home, with all the aforementioned features along with in additionwatchtowers and gatehouses:
The fact that Han Era homes were often multi-storied was a veryimpressive improvement from the periods which came before. Traditionally duringthe Feudal Era (2070–221 BC), Chinese architecture placed a strong emphasis onbuilding horizontally due to the inherent weaknesses and instability of usingwood.
And yet, by the Early Imperial Era during the 426 year longreign of the mighty Han Dynasty of China, buildings were expanded intomulti-storied buildings despite these inherent weaknesses.
Another ceramic house belonging to a Han Era nobleman:
Which is not to say that there were not multi-storied buildingprior to the Han Era (there were), but they were usually limited to 3 storiesat the absolute maximum. During the Han Era however, that was no longer thecase, and houses for the rich especially often strove to surpass such alimitation as seen below in this particular Aristocrat’s home, with 2residential towers joined by a covered bridge, interconnecting the manor (left)with its complementary watchtower (right):
On the other hand, we have minimal information with regards tothe housing of the common people, as the ceramic models were often used toreplicate the homes of the rich. However, what little we do know about themhowever from literary sources has forced sinologists to conclude that the pooron average lived in 1–2 story houses, made out of mud.
3 generations often dwelt under the same building together. Liketheir Roman counterparts - the Plebeians of Rome - the Nong of Han, despitebeing ranked second highest on the Chinese social hierarchy were oftenimpoverished beyond belief. As such, no irrigation for washing or for mattersrelating to toiletries existed at the time, much like the Insula blocks in theRoman Capital.
An ordinary peasant family’s home dating back to the Han Era:
To a much lesser extent than the Romans, the Han Administrationalso oversaw the construction of many public infrastructures throughout the HanEmpire. The Zhengguo Canal for one was restored under the wise guidance of thegreat Han Wudi, who reasoned that because silt had been building up over timeat the bottom of the canal, it had caused flooding.
Naturally, he knew he had to make repairs to it and moved to doby ordering that an all new 100 km long extension was to be made following thecontour line, above the original Zhengguo Canal. Beam, Arch and Suspensionbridges were also built during the Han Era meanwhile. And roads as mentionedpreviously, whilst nowhere near as long as Rome’s, was built all over the HanEmpire and wa made primarily out of rubble and gravel.
Dikes were maintained all over China meanwhile, to safeguardfarmland from seasonal floods. And postal and relay stations were bothintroduced and repaired.
Verdict: This is probably the toughest decision yet so far in thisanalysis, but the author believes the Romans have just slightly edged out theirHan Chinese counterparts here, by the tiniest margin possible. As such, theyhave not done enough to earn an exclusive point at the expense of their rivals.Therefore, a point must be awarded to both sides due to the complexities ofsuch a status quo. Rome: 6; Han: 7.