Roman Boats and Transportation

Transportation during Ancient Roman times was way different than what we have today.

There were no cars, planes or even trains during this time and most people would go by chariot or by boats.


The roads during Ancient Roman times were good considering the time.  This is one of the most significant accomplishments that the Ancient Romans are known for roads.

Their roads were built throughout the empire so that people could travel in order to trade goods and materials and so that soldiers could go where they needed during times of war.

People in the Ancient Roman military were very skilled road builders.  They worked hard to make roads that were drivable and where people could walk.

The roads were paved with concrete and with stone, and even in the city were paved well and were beautiful to look at.


Incredible as it sounds, there were even bridges that were built during Ancient Roman times.

The bridges were built over rivers, and since there were many Roman craftsmen, they knew how to use concrete to construct roads and bridges and so they were very sturdy and lasted for many years.

The Alcántara Bridge, Spain, a masterpiece of ancient bridge building


The Ancient Romans built ditches that were drainage ditches that would allow the area not to flood.

If the rains were heavy, it would cause people not to be able to travel, and so when these ditches were built, and it allowed people to go all over the area.

Chariot Travel

One way that the Ancient Romans traveled was by chariot.  The driver would put the chariot out and would tie horses to it to pull them.

The Ancient Romans would move and travel from place to place, and the chariot was the perfect way to get there.

The chariot had two wheels and looked like a cart.  This was the favorite way for the Ancient Romans to travel because the horses could get them where they were going very fast.

The chariots would even compete in games because they were so fast, and so this would frequently become a big event.


Some carts could also carry many people at one time.  These carts were pulled by horses, as well, but there was a problem with this type of transportation.

Since the carts had four wheels that were made out of iron, the iron would be very heavy, and so the horses would have to take time to rest to travel long distances.

Also, if the weather was rainy or bad, the cart would be even slower, and it would take longer to get where they were going.


People that were wealthy would ride in what is called a litter.   A litter was like a cart that slaves would carry so that the wealthy people did not have to walk around.


Walking was not fast, but it was a way that many of the Ancient Roman people got around.

If they were traveling long distances, they could walk as far as possible and could find an inn to stay at for the night before they started back their journey the next day.


Military soldiers would often ride on horseback.  This was a fast and easy way to get around, and it was affordable for the soldiers to have these horses.

Boats and Ships

Boats and ships were a way that people would get around from Ancient Rome to other countries.  Most of the time, the boats were used to transport goods for trade with other countries.

Ships were used during wartime and were important during battles.

Facts About Roman Boats and Transportation:

  • Aqueducts were used to give water to the people of Ancient Rome.
  • The Famous Roman Roads was when the Ancient Romans linked the capital to the rest of the community and called it this.
  • Roman engineering was an important trade that people had.
  • Innkeepers were usually crooks and would take advantage of the travelers.
  • Inns would be full of lice and other bed bugs.
  • Many students would travel the roads to get to Athens to be educated.
  • Women would ride a carpentum which was a covered carriage.

What Did You Learn?

  1. What is interesting about the Ancient Roman roads? With the time being so far from now, it is incredible that the Ancient Roman roads were built so well.
  2. What did the Ancient Roman roads look like? The roads were made of concrete and covered with stones.
  3. What were the roads called that connected the capital to the rest of the community? This was called The Famous Roman Roads.
  4. What were some other ways people traveled? Ancient Romans traveled by carriage, chariot, walking, riding horses, and riding on a litter.
  5. What was a litter? A litter was a cart that the slaves carried on their shoulders and would take the wealthy people where they wanted to go, so they didn’t have to walk.