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Monday, December 11

  1. page Disability Accessiblity in Modern Roman Transportation edited ... Rome, especially the historical center, has always been built for walking. The ancient city, f…
    Rome, especially the historical center, has always been built for walking. The ancient city, founded long before the invention of automobiles, was designed to be not only easily navigable for pedestrians, but also included wide roads for transporting its goods and armies. The modern city center of Rome is densely woven, with public piazzas featuring beautiful old fountains in every neighborhood, and cafes and produce markets tucked around corners. The biggest tourist attractions are nearly all within a mile or so of each other, or about a half hour's walk. One can walk from the Colosseum to the Pantheon in under thirty minutes, and then from the Pantheon to the Trevi Fountain in another ten. Despite how walkable and easily navigable the city is, the streets are often laid with uneven cobblestone and many smaller streets do not even have sidewalks. For the physically unimpaired, these issues are often nothing but a slight inconvenience. Mothers and fathers pick up their children’s strollers at crosswalks, potholes and missing cobblestones are carefully avoided, and upon hearing the honk of a vehicle, pedestrians step quickly to the side. For the mobility impaired, the lack of safe, paved sidewalks and unending presence of cobblestones is not a simple inconvenience but a hazard, rendering much of Rome unwheelable.
    Most of the cobblestone, which is especially common in neighborhoods such as Trastevere, is made of black basalt stones called sampietrini. Sampietrini, meaning "St. Peter's stones," have been used to pave the streets since the 16th century. While the stones are quite strong and water permeable, they are also extremely slippery when wet, and become uneven over time due to settling. The individual stones are not held in place by concrete, but instead individually hammered into the sandbed of the street. The work is specialized, with very few people with the knowledge of how to pave using sampietrini. While larger, higher-speed roads have been paved over with asphalt, sampietrini are still used in neighborhoods with lower speed limits. On these smaller roads, the sampietrini are often uneven and missing stones in some places, creating haphazard potholes. In some places, a footpath is painted on the side of the street, but is not wide enough for a wheelchair to navigate, and drivers often park their cars over the footpath. As far as cost, a square meter of sampietrini costs about 200 euro, versus 50 euro for a square meter of asphalt (Zoccali, 2017). Acknowledging the high costs and pitfalls of sampietrini pavements, city officials have announced that they are planning to replace larger stretches of road with asphalt, limiting cobblestones to smaller pedestrian streets (Gagliardi, 2005).
    of surface. {sampietrini
    pothole.jpg} Figure
    {pedestrian sidewalk.jpg} Figure 5. Narrow marked footpath on sampietrini road. Uneven and too narrow to accomodate a wheelchair.
    {IMG_5976.JPG} Figure 6. A car parked over the pedestrian crosswalk.
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  2. comment Hadrian's testament to structural engineering comment reply fixed
    comment reply
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Sunday, December 10

  1. page Trajan's column edited ... The column, standing ninety-eight feet alone and about one hundred and twenty-six feet with it…
    The column, standing ninety-eight feet alone and about one hundred and twenty-six feet with its pedestal, is made entirely of Luna (also known as Carrara) marble. In total, there are twenty-nine Luna marble blocks weighing one thousand and one hundred tons. A bronze statue of Trajan is thought to have been atop the column when it was first erected; however, this piece of the monument was lost somewhere in the Middle Ages. On 4 December 1587, Pope Sixtus V crowned the column with a bronze statue of St. Peter, which remains to this day (see Figure 1). The foundation of the column consists of concrete and a cap of travertine, a common building material in Rome.
    {IMG_2161 (2).JPG} Figure 1 - The statue of St. Peter was put on top of Trajan's Column by Pope Sixtus V (Image taken by author at Trajan's Forum).
    an extremely heavingheavy structure. The
    the mining and cutting process (Image
    Retrieving the marble was a much lengthier process, considering the entirety of the column’s pedestal, shaft, viewing platform, and capital block is made of Luna marble from Carrara. Carrara, some one hundred and eighty-six miles from Rome, is a four hour transit to Rome today (see Figure 2) and a multi-week endeavor for ancient Rome. As with the travertine, massive amounts of work were done at the quarries to prepare the marble for transport. These large blocks of stone would have been moved using sledges rolling over thin round sticks or on animal drawn carts. For the long journey down to Rome, the marble was shipped along the Tyrrhenian coast to Portus, where they were then moved to river barges to be brought up the Tiber and into Rome. Then the blocks would be put back on carts and sledges to navigate them through the city and to the work site near the Forum. At this work site they would be carved so the greater detail of the frieze could be perfected, the spiral stair could be accurately measured, and excess weight could be shed before lifting was necessary. This work site would have been close to the north end of the Forum where Trajan’s Column sits so that there would be minimal transport required after carving.
    {IMG_2907.JPG} Figure 3 - The drive from Tivoli to Rome is less than an hour today (Image is a screenshot taken by the author from Google Maps). {IMG_2906.JPG} The drive today from Carrara to Rome is between a three and four hour drive (Image is a screenshot by the author from Google Maps).
    A full description of the frieze’s narrative, the Dacian Wars, is given later in this article. In short, the frieze depicts the events leading up to the war for expansion, certain battles sequences, victory, rebellion, the Roman army reentering Dacia, battles from the second Dacian War, final victory, and celebration. The incredibly detailed frieze also gives portrayals of the army doing every day chores and small events along the campaign. As a whole, it gives the story of epic battles but also the little daily events that make such a campaign possible. Trajan is the central protagonist of the narrative and the story revolves around him. One theory actually hypothesizes that the column was designed after the scrolls upon which Trajan wrote his account of the wars as a sort of diary. The scrolls were kept in the library right next to the column, so the proximity of a visual version would complement the library’s newest acquisition. In this sense, the marble carved frieze acts as one long comic strip telling the public a heroic story of their great leader.
    The actual engineering behind the frieze was an architectural innovation for the time, and was copied by numerous leaders after Trajan, notably Marcus Aurelius. Each scene was carved with great care and detail, and each block had to be lined up perfectly to make a cohesive story, while also maintaining a smooth spiral staircase inside. Calculations and placing had to be exact for every angle of every marble drum. Once the section of spiral staircase and frieze had been carved, the block would be ready for lifting.
    For a tour of the "unwrapped" frieze in the EUR museum in Rome, follow this link:

    {IMG_2149 (2).JPG} The frieze wraps around Trajan's Column twenty-three times and depicts scenes of Trajan's campaigns in Dacia (Image taken by the author in Trajan's Forum). {IMG_2154 (2).JPG} The frieze wraps around Trajan's Column twenty-three times and depicts scenes of Trajan's campaigns in Dacia (Image taken by the author in Trajan's Forum). {IMG_2157 (2).JPG} The frieze wraps around Trajan's Column twenty-three times and depicts scenes of Trajan's campaigns in Dacia (Image taken by the author in Trajan's Forum).
    Lifting the Blocks
    Reviewing some notes on rope from Pliny the Elder, Lancaster reviews the common use of hemp in Roman ropes. If the builders of Trajan’s Column had used a hemp rope similar to Fontana’s at 7.5 centimeters in diameter, each rope would have had a breaking load of thirty two tons. It would require eight such ropes and capstans to lift the fifty five ton base block. While a little under today’s safety factor of six, the ropes suggested would have been feasible and likely successful. Due to the great heights the workers would have had to lift the marble drums to, extremely long ropes at three hundred meters in a three-pulley system. The Romans would have to keep on constant watch and coil the excess rope diligently.
    History is rife with thievery and many treasures have been lost to it throughout the ages. An interesting example of this can be seen in Trajan’s Column. A “robber hole” shows a missing metal dowel that was taken from between two marble drums in the post-antique period. The metal dowels were placed to connect the blocks together by hammering holes into the lower surface of the upper block. Then the block with the dowels sticking out would be lowered so the dowels fit into holes on the upper surface of the lower block and the gaps between filled with molten lead. This lowering technique would have required a sledge to perfectly place the dowels and therefore a second lift for the sledge to be removed and a second set of pulleys to make this happen.
    Trajan’s Column. For a better idea of what a Lewis Iron looks like and does, follow this link:

    Perhaps one of the most exciting stages of the construction project was the coordination of the lift for each marble block. Although there is no account of this process for Trajan’s Column, Fontana left a description of drama and tension with regards to the lifting process for his Vatican obelisk project. Exact coordination between every individual and animal involved in the lifting process was crucial, and in an age without electronic communication, silence was an absolute requirement for safety and success. For Fontana’s project, the spectators were watched by police with orders to punish noise with death. Without even distribution of load upon the ropes, excess strain in one spot could have severe consequences. Fontana had numerous checkpoints and failsafe mechanisms to isolate each capstan in case of emergency. For the average citizen in ancient Rome, the drama and excitement related to such an event must have been a rare experience.
    Using Fontana’s Vatican obelisk project, Apollodorus of Damascus’ siege plans, and Hero of Alexandria’s description of ancient Roman lifting towers, Lancaster weaves together a possible process for constructing a monument as ambitious as Trajan’s Column. While there is no certainty to the exact methods used at the time, known Roman practices would not have been up to the task. Analyzing varied methods for a number of different projects, Lancaster has shown that with the knowledge and materials available at the time, Trajan’s Column would have been an engineering innovation every step of the way.
    For an animated take on the construction of the Column that is similar to Lancaster's ideas, follow this link:

    Trajan's Forum
    Today Trajan’s Column is the most prominent structure in Trajan’s Forum. Its great height makes following the frieze up the column difficult from the ground, and one wonders how Trajan expected passerby to read the story of his great deeds. Although there is no good vantage point to view the whole column today, when the column was first erected it stood upon the northernmost point of a fully intact Forum. Flanking the Column courtyard were the Basilica Ulpia and two libraries, one for scrolls in Latin and the other for scrolls in Greek. It is in one of these libraries where Trajan’s war diaries were kept. The combination of visual awe from the column and the great libraries caring for some of Rome’s literary treasurers were a credit to the emperor in the people’s eyes. One significant feature of the libraries was that they had viewing platforms from which the entire length of the column could be seen. With the shallow carving of the frieze, this helped viewers read the entire story. The setting of the column, libraries, and forum was a large hub for the Roman populace to gather. Trajan’s building contributions to the city are one of the many credits to his rule.
    Triumphal Columns
    students by Dr. Alison Roy, a UW history professor (STEVE HELP ME OUT ON HER NAME?),professor, unless otherwise
    According to the Continuum Encyclopedia of Symbols by Udo Becker, a column is a symbol for the connection between heaven and earth, and a free standing triumphal column symbolizes victory. A key aspect of power for a Roman emperor was to appear touched by the divine, the only one to have the gods’ approval to rule. They accomplished this image by choosing various gods to be descendants of; for example, Augustus himself claimed to be a descendant of Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty (Heckster). Building a column would further the people’s perception of a connection between victory on earth and a victory for the gods. Emperors would also add victory epithets to their titles, such as when Trajan conquered the Dacians and became “Dacicus Maximus,” or “greatest Dacian” (Becker, Jeffrey A.). Creating a lasting monument of this victory would remind citizens and visitors to the capital of the emperor’s title and success as their ruler.
    According to Professor X,Dr. Roy, a triumph
    bystander had benefittedbenefited from it.
    Trajan’s Column is the oldest surviving triumphal column, and inspired many more after it. Today there are numerous examples throughout the world of this kind of monument and its effects on the reputation of the man it was dedicated to. For historians, these columns are also important pieces of history that give a view into an area’s military past. For Rome, Trajan’s Column is one of its many historical treasures.
    Purpose of Trajan's Column
    Having traveled the known world and ruled for nineteen years, Trajan died with a successful legacy in 117 AD in Selinus (modern day Turkey), aged sixty-four. Known as a fair and generous ruler domestically and an ambitious conqueror internationally, Trajan left his adopted heir Hadrian much to maintain. While a great deal of Trajan’s rule is documented for historians, no military diary in antiquity is quite so vivid and intriguing as Trajan’s Column. A detailed story of war, the column gives a unique insight to the viewpoint of one of Rome’s greatest generals. Aside from its engineering prowess, the column is a monument to the life of a man more impressive than the two thousand years his most famous legacy has already withstood upon the earth.
    {IMG_2182 (2).JPG} Trajan's Column at sunset (Image taken by the author at Trajan's Forum).
    Author Perceptions
    Trajan's Column and Forum are in the heart of a thriving and modern city. The juxtaposition of the busy traffic center, the Altar of the Fatherland, and Trajan's Forum and Column is incredibly thought-provoking. Most of Rome houses sites from many periods of its history, but none is quite so jarring as the area surrounding the Column. Trajan's Column is a towering reminder of the ancient, the Altar of the Fatherland is a large (and according to locals, pompous) reminder of the 1920s, and the busy and seemingly life-threatening traffic next to both sites is a blaring presence of the modern era.
    The white surface of the column is a far cry from what some believe to have been an extremely colorful original face of the monument. Looking at the current Column it is fascinating to imagine how impressive and eye-catching a fully colored Column would be to an ancient populace.
    Trajan's Column is an engineering marvel, work of art, rare military diary, and monument to one of history's great figures. In a city already rich with history, the Column stands out as a treasure worth studying and maintaining.

    Becker, Jeffrey A. Column of Trajan.
    "Trajan." Encyclopedia Britannica.
    UW PROFESSORDr. Alison Roy, UW History Professor.
    Wheeler, Everett L. "Rome's Dacian Wars: Domitian, Trajan, and Strategy on the Danube, Part 1."
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  2. comment Trajan's column comment reply I really like the last two sentences of my history of Trajan section. I felt like it was a poetic t…
    comment reply
    I really like the last two sentences of my history of Trajan section. I felt like it was a poetic tie in for the man and the monument. Those sentences were intended to be my summary. But I'll add a small section to repeat my points.
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  3. page The Water Revolutions in Rome edited Drinking Water and the Fourth Water Revolution in Rome emanz713 Dec 9, 2017 Introduction Safe …
    Drinking Water and the Fourth Water Revolution in Rome
    emanz713 Dec 9, 2017

    Safe drinking water is arguably the most important yet underappreciated resource in the world. Although most of the world has access to filtered and/or treated drinking water, not everyone does. In the year 2015, there were still 663 million people who had to rely on “unimproved” sources for their drinking water, which is defined by the World Health Organization as surface water from lakes, rivers, and dams, or unprotected springs and wells (World Health Organization, 2015). The total world population in 2015 was 7.38 billion people (United Nations, 2017), which means that almost 10% of the world’s population did not have access to safe drinking water only two years ago. In places with water infrastructure like the city of Rome, such a disaster is not an issue – but today, “developed” urban areas are facing new water issues that come with a changing environment and a growing world population. In his book “Water 4.0”, University of Berkeley Professor David Sedlak explains the three revolutions of water systems in human history, and the need for a fourth water revolution to address upcoming problems with water infrastructure. The known history of manmade water systems spans from before the ancient Romans (~753 B.C.) to the present day. The first water revolution, named Water 1.0, was when the Ancient Romans first built piped water systems and sewer systems. The second revolution, Water 2.0, consisted of drinking water treatment. Water 3.0 was the widespread adoption of sewer water treatment in water systems. Finally, Water 4.0 is a new, potential water revolution that may include “desalination plants, potable reuse systems, graywater recycling systems, and other new forms of infrastructure” necessary to prepare us for future water challenges (Sedlak, 2014).
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  4. page Project Directory edited ... Modern Roman Roads (Rowyn) The Future of the Tiber River (Lauren) ... System in Rome + Pr…
    Modern Roman Roads (Rowyn)
    The Future of the Tiber River (Lauren)
    System in Rome + Promo Video For Engineering Rome (Daniel)
    Aqueducts - equity and public health perspective (Joel) Analysis of Ancient Rome's Water Distribution System
    Roma Metro Line C construction and integration into the transportation system (Steven)
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  5. page Evaluation of Tram System in Rome edited ... As for the city of Rome, the tram network is not as a disaster as the bus system, but less sup…
    As for the city of Rome, the tram network is not as a disaster as the bus system, but less superior than the metro system (which is as expected). Improvements can be made by both extending the tram network and shrinking down repetitive routes. With Metro line C getting closer to completion, there is definitely hope for a better public transit system in Rome in the future.
    6. Personal Statement
    {DB_SelfieTime.jpg} Figure 19: A group of students (including me) taking a selfie in front of Villa D'Este at Tivoli, Rome. Great memories!
    This article and analysis of tram system in Rome is written by Daniel Bi (me). I studied abroad in Rome through my university program called “Engineering Rome”. Through my 3 and a half weeks stay in Rome, I’ve experienced a lot of Roman cultures: their building style, residential life, the rich history, and amazing food. The reason that I choose to talk about tram is my great passion in the railway system. As I take trams nearly every day to visit different sites, I realized it is definitely more enjoyable and relieving to ride the tram instead of buses, and seems like there is a lot that can be done to improve the tram system. I want to find out how to make tram and the transit system in Rome better.
    I have received a lot of much appreciated help from people that are along with me through the program. Great memories are made from learning about engineering in Rome, as well as classmates helping each other out with their projects. In addition, I would like to personally thank Steve Muench (my program professor), and Heta Kosonen (the teaching assistant for this class) for the guidance and feedback during my project. They have worked really hard to put together a great experience for the students in this program. I will treasure the moment that I spent with an amazing group of people in Rome, and I will not hesitate to join if there comes another chance for another journey.
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  7. comment Evaluation of Tram System in Rome comment added Changes based on instructor's comments: - 97% of the comments are addressed - Revamped on the wri…
    comment added
    Changes based on instructor's comments:
    - 97% of the comments are addressed
    - Revamped on the writing style
    - Added more empirical evidences to multiple claims (Sec 1.2 & 1.3)
    - Linked figures to the article
    - Redid Tables, Updated figures
    - Deleted description of other transit systems, one disadvantage of tram
    - Relinked broken references
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