The Romans found that by curving the beam downward at both ends, they could create an arch, or arcuated construction. The inherent strength of the arch resulting from its balanced distribution of forces allowed the Romans to span greater widths.
Nevertheless, the width of the spans are still limited by the load-bearing capacities of the materials themselves.
Concurrently, the height of structures are limited by the need to have materials strong enough and massive enough to not only support the structures, but prevent them from turning over. To achieve these goals from the earliest construction to almost the present we have built almost exclusively in stone or brick or wood.
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