Monday, February 28, 2005
The World's Most Influential Civilizations are Explored in The Science Channel's Three-Part Series, WHAT THE ANCIENTS KNEW, Beginning Monday, March 14: "On Monday, March 14, viewers travel the globe to see sites of some of the world's earliest inventions, beginning with those of ancient Rome. Roman scientists and engineers were the first to be deployed to conquered provinces, and it was their ingenuity that linked the vast Roman Empire together with sophisticated bridges and roads, solidifying Roman rule over a swath of territory that in its heyday extended from Scotland to Syria. Masters of incorporating innovations from the cultures they dominated, the Romans spread the concepts of clean water distribution and sewer systems -- as well as the ubiquitous Roman bath -- to far-flung outposts of the empire. The Romans used the aqueduct to distribute water, the catapult to defend their cities, and the hypocaust (the first radiant heat apparatus) to heat the Roman baths. They also invented double-pane glass, public bathrooms and one of the first prototypes of industrialization -- a water-powered flour factory that could feed a minimum of 12,000 people each day. The Romans used concrete to build almost everything and made use of a drum crane for building projects, which allowed them to use a measly four pounds of lifting pressure to lift an astonishing 4,000 pounds."