Communication Then and Now


While we still have many of the ideas and inventions of the Romans, things have certainly changed. Travel and communication have had dramatic advances in the last 150 years. These advances make a lot more sense if we can look back and see how things were done before.

1. Make a chart like the one below on your own piece of paper. Show the differences in travel and communication between ancient Rome and modern times.
2. Write a paragraph explaining the methods in detail.

Part 1 instructions:
1. Fill in the “Now” column in the chart from the list we make as a class.
2. Fill in the “A.D. 150” chart as we read the text below.

AD 150
Who travels?  
How do they travel?  
How do they communicate?  
How fast is the communication?  

Part 2 instructions:
1. Chose one method of travel or communication from the chart above.
2. Write one paragraph explaining how that method worked in ancient Rome and one on how it works now. (two paragraphs total)

Part 3 instructions:
1. Fold a blank piece of paper in half.
2. On one half of the paper draw a picture of one method of travel or communication from ancient Rome.
3. On the other half draw a picture of the method used now.

Communication Then and Now

Just as travel has become easier and faster, communication has also improved. At the time of the Roman Empire, messages could only be carried by hand. Messengers went back and forth across the empire carrying letters on the great Roman roads.

Communication was only as fast as the messengers could go. Transportation was as important then as it is now. A messenger who had to walk or run could only go about 25 miles a day. A messenger, who used a horse, could cover about 100 miles a day. A letter sent from Rome to Britain had to cross both land and sea. That letter might take up to 30 days to get to its final destination.

Today we can contact people in other parts of the world without having to make a journey, by foot, horse, or ship. All we have to do is turn on our computers or turn on our cell phones.

Electronic communication, which includes such inventions as radio, television, computers, and the telephone, has revolutionized the way we communicate. Communication satellites orbit the earth transmitting telephone, television, and Internet signals. In less than a second, they can relay signals and messages to almost anywhere on earth.

Through these many scientific inventions, our world-view has expanded. At the same time, the earth seems smaller than it did to the Romans. Today, we learn about events all over the world in a blink of the eye. Are we better off than the Romans? We certainly have an easier time communicating than the Romans did. However, maybe we are exposed to too much information. It will be up to us to figure it out.


Adapted from Mr. Roughton