Armstrong Economics Blog/Ancient History Re-Posted Aug 9, 2021 by Martin Armstrong
Rome became the greatest empire that ever existed because of its organization, which included its communication system. Here we have a Roman sestertius of Emperor Nerva (96-98 AD) who issued this coin to declare that Rome would assume the costs of the imperial post, which had been shifted to the municipalities slowing communications. Clearly, the idea of the Pony Express we hear associated with the Wild West days of the United States was by no means a new invention. As much as things change, they remain very much the same. History repeats because the passions of humankind never change. But also the solution to the same problem always reappears.
Indeed, the roads were built by Rome to move conquering armies and to facilitate communications and supplies from one end of Rome’s vast empire to its most remote frontiers. Every long stretch of road had mutationes for changing horses and mansiones for lodging at night.
Julius Caesar and his army traveled so fast on those roads that it took them only eight days to go from Rome to the Rhone which ran from the Mediterranian through Gaul to Lake Geneva in Switzerland.
By using the relay and refreshment stations all along the highways, couriers could cover 500 miles on horseback in just 24 hours. Letters have been discovered showing they have traveled from Britain to Rome in about 7 days.
Communications were the key. The Pony Express was set up on the same design of relays. To those who assume history has nothing to offer, the entire insurance industry in Britain began in Llyod’s Coffee shop in London to become Llyods of London. Likewise, Starbucks has emerged with the same idea of people having business meetings while having coffee. Study history and you may come up with the next idea for a good business.