A number of weeks ago, we introduced Tork, Caveman Engineer. He was the first engineer in history – make that pre-history. Later, we introduced Torkus, Medieval Engineer, who lived in the difficult time of the Dark Ages and tried as he could to make the world a better place to live, as engineers are made to do. This week, we will introduce yet another engineer from the past: Torkitus, Roman Engineer. Torkitus lived in the first century BC, when the Roman Empire was forming out of the Roman Republic.

The number important to Torkitus was IV, or to us non-Romans, 4. This was not an engineering term, but one that made Torkitus realize that contracting out engineering services was sometimes a good thing to do.

Torkitus was the best known, most well-respected engineer of his day, so much so that he was hired as the emperor’s chief engineer. But, the emperor had high demands on Torkitus. He gave him IV main tasks: I – build an aqueduct system that would bring water to the cities, from the mountain springs, and include indoor plumbing in that project; II – construct a road system that could support inter-region commerce and the movement of troops; III – design and build building with arches and columns; and IV – devise and construct defense and weapons for the military.

“Oh, that’s all?” Torkitus mused to himself, knowing that any one of the tasks would consume him. So he did what any understaffed government employee would do – he hired consultants. These engineers were all gifted and had to bid for the contracts, and, as Torkitus read the names of the winning engineers, he stated, “These are the engineers for whom the contracts shall be let – Marcus, Anthonium, Maximus, and you, Brutus.” (Not the best three words to end the meeting on.)

Torkitus then managed the major areas and the Roman empire flourished. All of this thanks to the engineer, Torkitus. His success was Rome’s success, which was good, because failure meant torture and a miserable death.