Any construction for running water is something like an inclined gutter which transports water from one point to another. It’s simple, a piece of cake, but not for the ancient Romans!
Their “gutter” could look like THIS!
Le Pont du Gard is a Roman aqueduct located in Provence, France. Standing near it, you feel like you’re a midget. This is also a bridge. “Le Pont du Gard” means “The bridge across the Gardon River.” But by no means does this tiny river merit a structure on this scale.
Why wouldn’t they just construct something more modest? Something like the irrigation systems of our high-tech century. No way. They erected the 47-meter-high wonder over the tiny river, and this wonder has already been standing, without any special reconstruction, for two thousand years. The gutter itself crowns the whole construction. Builders even breached a tunnel in the rock; note, without drilling machines, but with some kind of metal instruments.
Can you imagine even the most high-tech modern plumbing system that will function for the following 2,000 years? It’s hardly possible. But Le Pont du Gard is operating and looking as if it can do it for another 2,000 years. After all, the Romans didn’t even have cement! Just stones and … brains.
What thoughts must have entered the minds of people whose nations were competing with the Romans when they saw something like this? How powerful must an empire be, which has such running water systems!
Of course you can say it’s possible to construct anything if you have a large slave workforce. Maybe. But I doubt that slaves would have been able to process stones to a certain angle and lay them in accurately prepared places in a specific way without directions from a certain person. And that person, as we can see, was a GENIUS!
Like us, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), the famous Geneva philosopher, writer, and composer, also visited Le Pont du Gard. But that was 300 years ago, and he wrote about it in his book, The Confession. Let’s compare our impressions.
I had been advised to visit the Pont-du-Gard; hitherto I had seen none of the remaining monuments of Roman magnificence, and I expected to find this worthy the hands by which it was constructed; for once, the reality surpassed my expectation; this was the only time in my life it ever did so, and the Romans alone could have produced that effect. The view of this noble and sublime work, struck me the more forcibly, from being in the midst of a desert, where silence and solitude render the majestic edifice more striking, and admiration more lively, for though called a bridge it is nothing more than an aqueduct. One cannot help exclaiming, what strength could have transported these enormous stones so far from any quarry? And what motive could have united the labors of so many millions of men, in a place that no one inhabited? I remained here whole hours, in the most ravishing contemplation, and returned pensive and thoughtful to my inn.
– The Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau