By the mid-2nd century BC, Rome controlled the west Mediterranean, policing and defending it with massive armies. The troops had more loyalty to the generals than to distant politicians, giving men like Marius, Sulla, Pompey and Ceasar the muscle to seize political power. Meanwhile, peasants, whose land had been destroyed during the invasion of Hannibal in 219 BC, had flooded into Rome. They were followed by slaves and freedmen from conqueres lands such as Greece, sweling the population to half a million. There was plenty of work for imigrants, constructing roads, aqueducts, markets and temples, financing by taxes on Rome’s expanding trade.
In 202 BC the Roman general Scipio defeated Hannibal. Rome replaced Carthage as master of the Mediterranean.
ROMAN AQUEDUCTS (2nd century BC)
Rome owed much of her prosperity to her skilled civil engineers. When the city’s wells were no longer sufficient, aqueducts were build to bring water from surrounding hills. Some were over 80 km (50 miles) long.