Infrastructure Protection in the Ancient World



by Michael J. Assante
published on 13 January 2012

This paper provides lessons learned from ancient Roman attempts to protect the aqueduct, which was considered one of their most critical infrastructures. It also offers an analogy to modern day efforts in securing our own critical infrastructures, particularly the United States’ electric power grid.

Contemporary societies owe much to the Romans. In fact, the western world has openly credited ancient Rome for our knowledge and application of the modern calendar, government, and public administration. We have also benefited from their engineering achievements like the arch, the invention of cement, and the road system that linked ancient Europe.

As a security professional working with the government and assisting industry in understanding and developing strategies to protect critical infrastructures, I began speculating whether there might be other lessons we could learn from our early Roman predecessors relative to infrastructure protection. I became encouraged in my research since this ancient culture was the first to develop and administer public works and infrastructures that later became critical to the growth, stability, and prosperity of the Roman Empire. These achievements obliged me to more closely investigate this historical period in search of modern day parallels.

There are three prominent Roman infrastructures that have been recognized by historians, archeologists, and the common man; the road system, agriculture and food stores, and the most beautiful, yet practical of them all, her aqueducts. Given their import, could there be any poignant lessons that modern culture could take away from the story of ancient Rome and her infrastructures?

Proceedings of the 42nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (2009).

Written by , linked by Jan van der Crabben, published 13 January 2012. Source URL:

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