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Roman road

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A Roman road in
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A Roman road in Pompeii

The Romans, for military, commercial and political reasons, became adept at constructing roads. Many long sections of them are ruler-straight, but it should not be thought that all of them were. The Roman roads were essential for the growth of their empire, by enabling them to move armies speedily and by sustaining land transport for Roman mercantilism. The Roman emphasis on constructing straight roads often resulted in steep grades relatively impractical for most economic traffic: over the years the Romans themselves realized it and built longer, but more manageable, alternatives to existing roads. These long highways were very important in maintaining both the stability and expansion of the empire; but in late Antiquity, the same roads, by offering avenues of invasion to the barbarians, contributed to Roman military reverses.

The Roman roads vary from simple corduroy roads to using deep roadbeds of crushed stone as an underlying layer to ensure that they kept dry, as the water would flow out from the crushed stone, instead of becoming mud in clay soils. The legions made good time on these roads, and some are still used millennia later.

A proverb says that "all roads lead to Rome". Roman roads were designed that way to hinder provinces organising resistance against the Empire. At its peak, the Roman road system spanned 50,000 miles.

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Some Roman roads

There are many examples of roads that still follow the route of Roman roads.

Albania / Greece / Turkey

France

Italy

major roads

others

the name of most of these roads is derived from the censor who ordered their construction

Trans-Alpine Roads

These roads connected modern Italy and Germany

Spain

United Kingdom

For main article see Roman roads in Britain

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