(with special shout out to her Ambassador Melissa Manasco)
Apollodorus of Damascus was a Greek engineer and architect. He was born in
Damascus around the middle of the 1st century, and lived until he was executed around 130 C.E. He is thought to have started on his path to success in the Roman army, designing weapons, war machines, and siege engines.
Damascus sat at a crossroads between the Greco-Roman world and the lands of the east. This setting gave Apollodorus wide exposure to a great diversity of knowledge and culture, which helped him to shape some of his most extraordinary ideas. As an engineer and architect Apollodorus engineered many great buildings and structures. One of these structures was a bridge over the Danube River, which stretched over on thousand meters in length and was completed in two years. This amazing feat caught the attention of the Roman Emperor Trajan who made Apollodorus the chief civic architect of the Roman empire. In this post Apollodorus put his skills to creating Trajan’s Forum; a colossal square plaza surrounded by a basilica, libraries and a massive temple to the Emperor Trajan. It was an impressive architectural achievement.
Throughout the remainder of his life he continued to engineer impressive architectural wonders, but was executed by Trajan’s successor, Hadrian, who saw Apollodorus as a threat to his reputation. In conclusion, Apollodorus of Damascus was a very brilliant engineer and architect. He had many ambitious and exotic ideas and made many of them realities. His hometown of Damascus afforded him a great deal of inspiration throughout his life as the
cosmopolitan atmosphere of the city gave the young Apollodorus a deeper insight into the wider world beyond the frontiers of Rome.
Apollodorus of Damascus: Architect of Empire