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All Things Roman (History)
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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It's still not nailed down. Lemmee put what we 'know'

1. Nobody builds straight roads (it's a topographical nonsense)
2. Straight is quickest in the absence of topography (and given untrammelled choice)
3. Everybody utilises roads that are already there (why wouldn't they?)
4. Everybody uses straight directions in the absence of a) roads and b) literacy (it's a Megalithic imperative)
5. Nobody follows a straight route even if the direction being followed is a straight line (it's a topographical nonsense)
6. It's horses for courses i.e. what a pedlar, a pack train, a drover, an army, wheeled transport require are all different
7. But not necessarily mutually exclusive
8. Roads are capital intensive to build, cheap to maintain, but must be regularly maintained
9. Roads are more useful for people travelling through than for people living in the place where the road is.
10. Therefore they must be selected, built and maintained by a supra-local body, or by the users.

Get to it!
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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I think it boils down to academia wants to identify and categorise on the basis of a defining common feature, so Roman roads become Roman on the grounds of straightness. This as you say ignores the function of the road.

If this was a straightish road then this would imply to me it was a military road. One of the great mysteries is why the Normans, who were great builders of castles using stone, didn't build military roads, the ortho explanation is that they had a lot of cavalry....so trudged off cross country, or through forests, only to get ambushed.
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