Bridge Over the Rhine River
Rome’s colossal architecture spanned three continents and unleashed the power and promise of the world’s most technologically advanced civilization. While the Romans dominated the landscape with massive feats of destruction, they were ultimately powerless to prevent their own self-destruction.
March 15, 44 B.C. Julius Caesar dies. As a general, he more than doubled the Empire. As a politician, he rose to power as an emperor and established an empire that would last for centuries.
As an ambitious general, he wanted to travel to Germania (Germany) by crossing the Rhine River. His soldiers transformed the local timber into an expanding bridge that would extend over the Rhine River, reaching mort than four foot ball filed long and sustain the weight of 40,000 men. The base was constructed of “pile” or large trees drove into the riverbed- some over 30 feet long and angled to give the bridge more stability. The “piles” were then connected with a beam, which other timber could be laid across perpendicularly, and finished with tightly wrapped bundles of sticks. The design was innovative, but what made this engineering feat more astounding was the speed in which it was built. Ten days after ordering its construction, Caesar marched across his bridge and toward his destiny. Caesar had estimated the Germanic forces to be ten-times as large as his army, but as soon as the German saw the Romans marching over the Rhine, they quickly fled for higher ground. After exploring the unknown territory for eighteen day without any resistance, Caesar crossed back over his bridge and dismantled it, having made and unmistakable point – Rome can go anywhere.
Caesar’s conquest of Gaul greatly expanded the reach of Roman influence. His consolation of power marked the death of the Roman Republic and the birth of an empire in which tyrannical emperors could rule with absolute power. Some would use their power to build magnificent marvels. The vanity, excess, and ignorance of other would push the empire on the brink of destruction. Through it all, Rome would grow into the most powerful and advanced civilization the world had ever seen.
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