Module 7 Creativity – Thinking aloud on Julius Frontinius and the links of inventions to creativity in the classroom

Julius Frontinus was a Governor of Roman Britain who then became the Water Commissioner and overseer of the Aqueducts. He was quite inventive and creative with war and with waterways.

“Inventions reached their limit long ago, and I see no hope for further development.” Julius Frontinius in the 1st Century A.D.

As part of my creativity class, I was asked to watch the YOUTUBE video about Time Magazines 2009 Inventions of the Year…then consider: What parts of the video inspired you?  How does the quote tie in to this video?  How does this impact student learning in creativity?


  • The 2009 Inventions of the Year by Time Magazine were:
  • Raising blue fin tuna in tanks for more sustainable food production
  • Microsoft – body game controller to give more diversity and authentic game play
  • Phillips  – an “energy hub” that sets next to your thermostat and tells you how much energy your appliances are using and how much it is costing you.

The video itself was not inspiring, the inventions were.  I was touched by the focus on sustainability and the research that continued until scientists found a way to raise blue fin tuna in tanks.  With waters becoming polluted, having a fish source that is healthy and replenish-able will help people in the future meet their needs to food.

I wasn’t too impressed by the game controller…but glad to see children moving versus zoning out on the TV.  However, even though this technology is still available, I feel children are not using it as much as they are still using the basic game controller and sitting more than being active.

The energy hub seems sound.  I was surprised it existed and that I was not aware of it.  Researching more, Philips just recently received another award from the US Department of Energy.  So I am happy that people do not rest and continue to innovate.

I was intrigued by the quote…and researched Julius Frontinus.  The quote, as shown above, is taken out of context.

The original quote… “I also lay aside all ideas of any new works or engines of war, the invention of which long-ago reached its limit, and in which I see no hope for further improvement …”

was pulled from Julius book on War strategies and has to do with the designs of war rather than his view of invention.  In fact, the quote stands more to mean that the invention of war has reached it’s limits (of usefulness) and he feels it’s use cannot be improved.

I would agree with his view that the invention of War has run its course.  

from Google books- Julius Frontinus

Julius was a Roman…who was Governor of Britain up in the area of Wales who returned to oversee the maintenance and restoration of the Roman aqueducts.  He was actually quite an inventor – coming up with creative ways to defeat his enemies (he diverted water to create a flood) and restore the water quantity and quality going into Rome.

With that said…I think the author of the quote links strongly to invention and creativity…although his quote as stated seems to suggest otherwise.  In content, I do believe that ‘invention’ of war as opposed to conflict and strife among people and countries – as it is designed to kill, conquer or limit…is an invention that has run it’s course and has not developed beyond it’s original design.

As far as the impact for children in the classroom, his original quote would be something for students to reflect upon.  The idea that all inventions are good and useful throughout time is one that would easily be thrown out.  Maybe inventions seem wonderful and remarkable when first developed (aerosol, petrol cars…).  However, over time, there are dangers that the original inventors could not foresee or limits to the usefulness of their designs long-term.

Therefore, maybe students could look at some inventions from long ago, consider their current usefulness and either improve upon them or create a timeline measuring their impact on today’s generation and future so see if the invention is one that in fact ‘has reached it’s limit’.








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