How did Romans heat their homes?
Rich Romans liked to be warm and cosy. They had central heating at home, in villas and in public baths. The heating system was kept going by slaves, who kept a fire blazing in a furnace to heat warm air. The warm air moved around the building through spaces under the floors and between the walls. The underfloor space was made by raising the floor on top of piles of tile or stone. The Roman heating system was called a hypocaust.
What are aqueducts?
Although they did not invent the arch, the Romans were the first people to build arches into big buildings and aqueducts. An aqueduct was built to carry water. It was like a bridge, built on arches. On top was a stone channel to carry water. The Romans used aqueducts to supply towns with water from springs, rivers or lakes. The aqueduct sloped downhill towards the town, because water will only flow downhill.
The Romans also used arches in buildings. They made very big buildings with arched roofs. These roofs did not need rows of pillars, or columns, to hold them up - like in a Greek temple. A famous Roman building, the Pantheon in Rome, was the first big building with a dome.
Why didn't the Romans need many machines?
The Romans were good at building roads and bridges, but not so keen on machines. They had slaves to do nasty jobs and heavy work. The Roman crane, for example, didn't have an engine. It was powered by slaves or animals. The Romans invented war machines, like catapults, worked by twisted ropes and springs, and a reaping machine, for cutting corn. But the Romans never needed machines to take the place of slaves.
Did Romans have smelly drains?
The Romans were keen on keeping clean. Towns and forts had underground drains to take away dirty water and sewage. The drain pipes were flushed through with water from the baths, so they didn't get too smelly. From remains and writings found at Pompeii, in Italy, we know that most towns had plumbers, and also laundries where workers washed and ironed people's clothes. Fresh clean water and sewers are important. Without them, people risk catching diseases from drinking dirty water or from sewage left around streets and houses.