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From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS
IV. THE RISE OF ROME TO 264 B.C.
» Contents of this ChapterPage 24
USES OF ROMAN ROADS
Roman roads had a military origin. Like the old Persian roads they were intended to facilitate the rapid dispatch of troops, supplies, and official messages into every corner of Italy. Hence the roads ran, as much as possible, in straight lines and on easy grades. Nothing was allowed to obstruct their course. Engineers cut through or tunneled the hills, bridged rivers and gorges, and spanned low, swampy lands with viaducts of stone. So carefully were these roads constructed that some stretches of them are still in good condition. These magnificent highways were free to the public. They naturally became avenues of trade and travel and so served to bring the Italian peoples into close touch with Rome.
ROMANIZATION OF ITALY
Rome thus began in Italy that wonderful process of Romanization which she was to extend later to Spain, Gaul, and Britain. She began to make, the Italian peoples like herself in blood, speech, customs, and manners. More and more the Italians, under Rome's leadership, came to look upon themselves as one people—the people who wore the gown, or toga, as contrasted with the barbarous and trousers-wearing Gauls.
Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy