Roman Science


The Romans assimilated earlier Greek science for their own purposes, evaluating and then accepting or rejecting that which was most useful, much as they did in other fields such as warfare, art, and theatre. This assimilation of Greek thought began in the 2nd century BCE, and ideas often came with their practitioners. For example, the first specialist architects and doctors in the Roman world were very often Greek. The Roman respect for ancient Greek scholars continued right up to the end of the empire, and so Roman scientists, even if their own innovations were largely more concerned with refinements than new ideas outright, managed to document and record a long, ancient tradition of scientific thought, so preserving it for posterity. The old approach of historians that the Romans had no significant science of their own has now been reassessed to reflect their practical contributions to the evolution of fields like architecture, engineering, and medicine, which were underpinned by progress in such sciences as geometry, physics, and biology.

More about: Roman Science


  • 321 BCE
    The Via Appia, a famous Roman road, is constructed.
  • 312 BCE
    Rome's first aqueduct constructed, the 16 km long Aqua Appia.
  • 219 BCE
    The physician Archagathus of Sparta arrives in Rome.
  • c. 159 BCE
    First water-clock set up in Rome.
  • c. 25 BCE - c. 50 CE
    Life of the Roman physician Aulus Cornelius Celsus.
  • c. 20 BCE
    Military engineer and architect Vitruvius publishes his "De Architectura".
  • c. 20 BCE
    The Campus Martius baths in Rome are constructed and donated to the people by Agrippa.
  • 41 CE
    Roman emperor Claudius builds a 6 km tunnel to drain the Fucine Lake.
  • c. 50 CE
    The largest Roman aqueduct, 49 m high, completed at Pont du Gard.
  • c. 65 CE
    The Circus Maximus in Rome is rebuilt and its capacity increased to 250,000.
  • 81 CE - 96 CE
    Construction is finally completed on the Colosseum of Rome in the reign of Domitian.
  • 122 CE
    Construction begins on Hadrian's Wall.
  • c. 125 CE
    The Pantheon is completed in Rome.
  • 129 CE - c. 216 CE
    Life of the physician Galen of Pergamon.
  • c. 235 CE
    The Baths of Caracalla in Rome are completed.