What We Can Learn About Operations from Ancient Romans in Provence, France region

What We Can Learn About Operations from Ancient Romans in Provence, France region


When we think of operations, we dont think of Romans, but Romans had one of the most advanced operational capabilities in the modern world. Those principles apply to this day.
The success and longevity of roman empire reflects to this day on the basis of its operations principles. We will focus on Provence region of Rome for this project.Provence

Most people know something about the Roman conquest of Ancient Gaul. In the south of France, Roman soldiers conquered the entire area know as “Provence” by fighting off the invading tribes who came from the north to steal the local population’s food, mineral wealth and women. The defenders set up camps on the tops of hills to be able to survey any invasive movement in the region. This required a strong skill of operations know how. As the empire grew, the camps became towns, some of the towns became cities… even “large” cities of 10,000 inhabitants (Arles, Vaison-la-Romaine and Nmes, for example) at the time of Christ!

What fascinates many of us is the clever building skills of the Romans. Much evidence of their work is visible and “visitable.” All this required to be a logistical empire. Travelers to Provence can find the remnants of the history and project building: roman monuments, statuary, remparts, aquaducts, ships, theatres, underground passages, … in city centres, in museums, on street corners, at the bottom of the mighty Rhone river, in deep forests and in farmers’ fields, and even in the gardens and old walls of our “hamlet.” Yes, carved stone from Roman times was often “re-cycled” to build medieval structures, which were in turn “re-re-cycled” to be used in 17th century buildings, many of which are still standing today!

As example, there are two interesting examples of re-cycled carved stone which probably dates from Roman times— a curious sun-dial installed upside-down in one of our walls AND the underground, double channelled aquaduct, built with small red bricks and which runs across the entire length of our property at a depth of about 5 metres.

Equally interesting is the fact that this swell of Roman construction lasted for almost five hundred years and then seems to have fallen into a complete “stall.” Comparatively little is known about what seems to have become a sluggish, lackluster way of life at the end of the first millenium. Was the Romans’ prowess somehow greatly diminished over time because they drank water which gushed out of lead pipes carrying the vital liquid into their cities? Maybe!
In operations, dont rest on your laurels. Or your company might also drink from the lead pipe. Constant movement and innovation is requires to thrive.

For those who want to experience similar architecture of moulding and plaster decorations, you can always go to establishments such as Arkada and they can create your own classical feel for the house of business.

For the history buffs:
There is one of the largest archeological digs in France— Glanum. The first construction dates from an earlier Greek settlement (circa 800 B.C.) and the Roman construction was literally done on top of the Greek settlement, taking advantage of the “infrastructure” originally built by the Hellenic peoples. At one position of excavation of the Roman Forum, you can look down through the layers of a well shaft and see through 3,000 years of history. And, there is still plenty of water running down at the bottom!
Arles, Nmes and Vaison-la-Romaine are fascinating places of constant discovery: Antique theatres which are still in open-air use; coliseums almost as large as that of Rome and built about the same time; thermal baths with underground passages; cloisters built by the first Christian missionaries in the region, ramparts and towers in ruins, Roman burial sites from pagan and Christian times… Yes, there are plenty of museums with vast collections of artifacts from Roman times… but, you can visit Roman history even without going inside, because these cities themselves are open-air museums, which can be visited any time of the year. Just by walking around with a little map and a good dose of curiosity! Curious to learn more about Provence? Read more about it on Provence Paradise blog here.