Why didn’t the Roman Empire spawn the Industrial Revolution?

3 September 2022

The Roman Empire — which dominated the then known world for near on five centuries — gave us its trademark roads, plumbing, floor heating, a postal service, concrete, and surgical tools.

Had the empire — as a whole, rather than the partitioned east, west, entity it later became — remained at its peak a lot longer, we can only speculate as to what other innovations may have been spawned.

An Industrial Revolution perhaps? Possibly. But prior to the fifth century, Common Era? Not likely, says Bret C. Devereaux, an ancient and military historian at the University of North Carolina.

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