Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works such as roads, bridges, canals, dams, airports, sewerage systems, pipelines, and railways. Civil engineering is traditionally broken into a number of sub-disciplines. It is the second-oldest engineering discipline after military engineering, and it is defined to distinguish non-military engineering from military engineering. Civil engineering takes place in the public sector from municipal through to national governments, and in the private sector from individual homeowners through to international companies.
Engineering is the creative application of science, mathematical methods, and empirical evidence to the innovation, design, construction, operation and maintenance of structures, machines, materials, devices, systems, processes, and organizations. The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of more specialized fields of engineering, each with a more specific emphasis on particular areas of applied mathematics, applied science, and types of application. See glossary of engineering.
Incorrigible humanity, therefore, led astray by the giant Nimrod, presumed in its heart to outdo in skill not only nature but the source of its own nature, who is God; and began to build a tower in Sennaar, which afterwards was called Babel (that is, 'confusion'). By this means human beings hoped to climb up to heaven, intending in their foolishness not to equal but to excel their creator.
Dante Alighieri, De vulgari eloquentia, Chapter VII
No greater care is required upon any works than upon such as are to withstand the action of water; for this reason, all parts of the work need to be done exactly according to the rules of the art which all workmen know, but few observe.
Sextus Julius Frontinus (1978), in Engineering classics of James Kip Finch, p. 12