Saturday, March 15, 2014

Cold Romans

From Return to Order:
We are conditioned to believe that the Roman Empire was technologically superior to the Middle Ages in every way. This was far from true. Daily life in the winter was miserable in Roman times for both slave and Caesar.

Rodney Stark explains that Roman buildings were horribly heated. They had no fireplaces, stoves, or furnaces since they had no way to get the smoke out of the buildings. More often than not, Roman peasants would start open fires inside and simply open a hole in the roof where the smoke went out and the rain, snow and cold came in. Urban Romans generally would not even have a hole as they preferred to let the smoke concentrate indoors. They avoided asphyxiation because their buildings were extremely drafty and their windows had no panes only hanging skins. (Read more.)

1 comment:

The North Coast said...

The Romans' chief accomplishments were their architecture,their unparalleled skill with concrete, and their equally peerless water infrastructure. No one in the world before modern times ever made such excellent and durable concrete or knew how to move water around as they did, except for the Egyptions, who were second to no one in building with stone.

The Romans were not nearly so good with metal, hardly worked with it a tall, in fact, beyond what they needed for weaponry and chariots, possibly because they never learned to handle fire and heat too well, as your linkd article notes.