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How Europe’s Roman roads reveal the challenge of rebuilding after colonialism

It’s a known phenomenon: systems and structures, if robust, continue to work for as long as they are unchanged

By Amal Chatterjee  

An ancient Roman road in Rome—but what might the vestiges of the Roman empire tell us about how states rebuild after imperialism? Photo: Pixabay

Once upon a time, the Romans ruled a vast swathe of Europe, of North Africa, and of what is now called the Middle East. Where they conquered, they built towns and cities, many of which survive to this day.

Some wear their Roman origins conspicuously; others, like London and Paris, do so more discreetly. Between those cities the Romans built roads, infrastructure that made those…

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