Roman Aqueducts

50 %
50 %
Information about Roman Aqueducts

Published on February 13, 2008

Author: Dorotea


Roman Aqueducts:  Roman Aqueducts M. L. Anderson History Pre-Romans:  History Pre-Romans The Greeks (before the Roman conquest) had no aqueducts as they had no need of them. Due to the physical geography of the country springs were sufficiently abundant to supply the Greek cities with water. Great attention was paid to the preservation and adornment of the springs and they were converted into public fountains by the formation of a head for their waters. They were adorned by the erection of an ornamental super-structure and each was dedicated to some god or hero. The Greek Water Supply:  The Greek Water Supply The Greek water supply was not much more than a fountain over or close to the springs, forming a head for the water derived, or ltapped by very short channels. The early Greeks had some powers of hydraulic engineering as is shown by the drainage tunnels of the lake Copaïs, and the similar works of Phaeax at Agrigentum. There is a channel for water being carried through a mountain, to supply the city of Samos. The height of the mountain was 900’, the length of the tunnel was 7/8ths of a Roman mile, and its section was 8’2. The actual channel for this water was 30’ deep, and 3’ wide. The water passed through pipes from a spring, and was thus brought to the city. Greek Water Supply:  Greek Water Supply The chief regulations among the Greeks respecting fountains and springs, whether in town or country, were the following: Water might be fetched from the public fountains or wells to a distance of 4 stadia (@1/2 mile), beyond this, persons must dig their own wells. According to Plato, if any one dug to a depth of ten orguiae without finding water, he was permitted to take from his neighbour's well a pitcher of six choës twice a day. History of the Aqueducts:  History of the Aqueducts At first the Romans had recourse to the Tiber, and to wells sunk in the city; but the water obtained from these sources was polluted and insufficient due to the growth of the population. The reason that aqueducts were invented in order to bring pure water from the hills which surround the Campagna. The date of the first aqueduct is assigned by Frontinus to the year A.U.C. 441, or B.C. 313. The number of aqueducts was gradually increased, partly at the public expense, and partly by the munificence of individuals, until they amounted to fourteen. What did the Aqueducts mean to the Roman Civilization? :  What did the Aqueducts mean to the Roman Civilization? The Romans could not have built their big cities without aqueducts. Some Roman cities wouldn't have existed at all. Romans sometimes built cities on dry plains, which would not have been possible without the transported water. With the water, they could have their baths, their fountains, and their drinking water. Roman Aqueduct:  Roman Aqueduct What did the Aqueducts mean to the Roman Civilization?:  What did the Aqueducts mean to the Roman Civilization? Their society would have been very different without imported water. There would not have been a bath culture. Visitors to Rome were amazed at the cleanliness of the City. The hidden half of the water system—sewers—took aqueduct overflow and flushed the refuse into the river, which damaged the river, but kept the city of Rome clean. WASTEWATER SYSTEMS:  WASTEWATER SYSTEMS Water from the baths, latrines, palaces, fountains, etc., as well as other urban runoff was discharged into Rome's drainage and wastewater collection system. Several centuries before the birth of Christ, Etruscan engineers built the initial drainage system whose main outlet into the Tiber River still exists 28 centuries later. The covered drains were designed on such a large scale that in certain sections wagons loaded with hay could drive through with ease. Rome's sewers and drains emptied directly into the Tiber, whose polluted state must have been a constant problem for the Roman populace. Aqua Appia:  Aqua Appia The Aqua Appia was begun by the censor Appius Claudius Caecus (to whom also Rome was indebted for her first great road), in B.C. 313. Its sources were near the Via Praenestina, between the seventh and eighth milestones, and its termination was at the salinae by the Porta Trigemina. Its length was u110 •11,190 passus, for •11,130 of which it was carried under the earth. For the remaining •60 passus, within the city, from the Porta Capena to the Porta Trigemina, it was on arches. The distribution of its water began from the Clivus Publicius. No traces of it remain. Via Appia Anio Vetus:  Anio Vetus The Anio Vetus was commenced forty years later, B.C. 273, by the censor M. Curius Dentatus, and was finished by M. Fulvius Flaccus. The expense was defrayed out of the spoils taken from Pyrrhus. The water was derived from the river Anio, above Tibur, at a distance of •twenty Roman miles from the city; but, on account of its windings, its actual length was •forty-three miles, of which length less than a quarter of a mile only (namely, •221 passus) was above the ground. There are considerable remains of this aqueduct on the Aurelian wall, near the Porta Maggiore, and also in the neighbourhood of Tivoli. It was built of blocks of peperino stone, and the water-course was lined with a thick coating of cement. Aqua Marcia:  Aqua Marcia  The Aqua Marcia was built by the praetor Q. Marcius Rex, by command of the senate, in B.C. 144. The want of a more plentiful supply of water had been long felt, especially as that furnished by the Anio Vetus was of such bad quality as to be almost unfit for drinking. The two existing aqueducts had fallen into decay by neglect, and had been much injured by private persons drawing off the water at different parts of their course. The senate therefore commissioned the praetor Marcius to repair the old aqueducts, and to build a third, which was named after him. Aqua Marcia:  Aqua Marcia Tap Tap Rome: Porta Capernaum:  Rome: Porta Capernaum Coliseum Claudia Marcia Apia Aqueducts During Augustus Rule:  Aqueducts During Augustus Rule How did the Romans locate these springs and other water sources? :  How did the Romans locate these springs and other water sources? Vitruvius wrote about finding water, recommending: Looking for mist or a lake and checking the water quality. Talking to the local inhabitants around a water source to see what their complexions are like. If they looked healthy, that might mean that their water source was pure and worth tapping. How did the Romans locate these springs and other water sources?:  How did the Romans locate these springs and other water sources? The really prized waters in Rome came from underground springs. Green grass in a dry season or a certain vegetation could be indicators. Locating the springs was difficult as they do not always bubble up to the surface. Sometimes they would dig down to the water table and build an underground tunnel to begin the aqueduct. A tunnel might be 5 to 20’ deep. Cologne, Germany Conimbriga, Portugal Anatomy of an Aqueduct System:  Anatomy of an Aqueduct System source ( infiltration gallery) steep chutes (dropshafts) settling tank tunnel and shafts covered trench aqueduct bridge (inverted) siphon substruction arcade distribution basin / castellum divisorium water distribution (lead) pipes into the town Parts of an Aqueduct:  Parts of an Aqueduct Covered Trench Channel Tunnel Pressurized Pipe Wall Arcade Springs to Channels:  Springs to Channels According to Vitruvius, the springs should have such an elevation, as that, after allowing for the fall necessary to give the channel its proper inclination. The water should enter the final reservoir at a sufficient height to permit its distribution for public and private use. When the source had been fixed upon, whether it was an open spring, or one got at by sinking a well, a head was dug for the water, and inclosed with a wall. If necessary, the supply was increased by digging channels from neighbouring springs. Covered Trench:  Covered Trench Roughly four of every five miles of Rome's aqueducts run underground, many in covered trenches. Trenches are used when the aqueduct follows the contours of the land. They are quick and easy to build for they require neither the construction of arches nor the burrowing of tunnels. Covered Trench:  Covered Trench Romans built underground to hide and protect water from enemies. Underground trenches and tunnels protected pipes from the stresses of wind and erosion while underground. Covered trenches and tunnels are less disruptive to life on the surface than are walls and arcades, which divide neighborhoods and farmers' fields. Water Channel:  Water Channel The Channel would having a slight, and, as nearly as possible, a uniform declivity. The channel itself was a trough of brick or stone, lined with cement, and covered with a coping, which was almost always arched. The water either ran directly through this trough, or it was carried through pipes laid along the trough. When the channel was carried beneath the surface, if the hill through which it passed was of rock, it was merely cut in the rock; but if of earth or sand, it was constructed of blocks of stone. Channel Ventilation:  Channel Ventilation The object of covering the specus was to exclude the sun and rain, and other corruptions and obstructions. It was necessary to provide a vent for the air, which otherwise would have been compressed to such a degree as to burst the walls or roof of the specus. To ventilate the subterranean channel of an aqueduct, a shaft of masonry was carried to the surface of the ground at intervals of an actus, or 120 Roman feet. Marcia Advantages to Building Tunnels :  Advantages to Building Tunnels Tunnels don't disturb surface activities such as farming or traffic. Tunnels were less vulnerable to wind erosion, the weather, and earthquakes. Underground tunnels were not vulnerable to enemies. Above ground arches were like advertising to the enemy: “Here is our aqueduct. “ Tunnels:  Tunnels When Rome was besieged by the Barbarian invasions, one of the first things they did was to cut the aqueducts into the city. The security of Rome and the building of a stable empire allowed the arcades, to be safely built. Tunnels:  Tunnels Aqueduct engineers sometimes carved a tunnel through a mountain rather than build a trench around one. When not too deep, shafts are dug down vertically from above to intersect with the proposed path of the tunnel. By using shafts, more than one crew can work on a tunnel at a time. The shaft also serves another purpose: Once the tunnel is finished, slaves can crawl down stone steps to clean the tunnel. They can fill buckets with silt or chipped-out calcium deposits left behind from hard water and then haul the buckets out. Pressurized Pipe:  Pressurized Pipe When faced with a deep valley, Roman engineers would use pressurized pipes that are inverted siphons. Roman water engineers build these because tall arcades are too unstable when built too tall. With siphons, water travels down one side of the valley in watertight pipes. Water pressure forces water up the other side. Water exits the pipes at nearly the same height as it entered. The pipes were usually built of lead which can handle strong water pressure. Pipes:  Pipes The pipes were used for the passage of the water. They were of lead, or terra-cotta (fictiles), and sometimes, for the sake of economy, of leather. Vitruvius gives the preference to the earthen pipes, because the water which passed through them was more wholesome. Most of the pipes in Rome were made of lead. In Germany, for instance pipes were made out of wood. Elsewhere they might be terra-cotta. The Specus; Pipes:  The Specus; Pipes The pipes were made in lengths not less than 10’ and of various widths. They were cemented together at the joints, which in earthen pipes were made to overlap, and when the water was first let in, ashes were mixed with it, in order that they might settle in the joints and stop leaks more completely. The use of pipes permitted the water to be carried round, instead of through a hill, if the circuit was not too great; and in very wide valleys, the costly structure of arches could be dispensed with. Pipes:  Pipes The horizontal part of the pipe across the bottom of the valley had ventilating openings for the escape of the air. At the bendings, instead of the pipe, an elbow was bored in a solid piece of stone, into which the ends of the adjacent pieces of pipe were securely cemented. In those places where the pipes were laid on the surface, reservoirs were sometimes made, at intervals of •200 actus (24,000 feet), in order that, if a part of the pipe needed repair, the supply of water might not be entirely cut off. The advantage in the use of pipes, according to Vitruvius, was the facility of repairing them. Were the Romans aware of the dangers of lead? :  Were the Romans aware of the dangers of lead? They were. According to Vitruvius, the people who make these lead pipes were not in the best of health. Two things about the Roman water supply mitigated the unhealthy effects of lead. The first is that the water in the Roman aqueducts rarely stopped running. They had shut-off valves, but they didn't use them much. The water was meant to move. It would flow into a fountain or a basin. Overflow would pour into the gutter and then flush the city. Today, if you have lead pipes, they tell you to let the water run for awhile before you drink it. That prevents water from sitting in the lead pipes and becoming contaminated. That flushing out happened naturally in the Roman system. Lead Pipes:  Lead Pipes Secondly, the water in Rome was hard water. It had lots of minerals in it that would coat their pipes. The minerals would encrust and coat the inside of the pipe. The aqueduct channels would gradually accumulate these deposits. Periodically, they would have to chip out all the encrustations. That layer of minerals served as a buffer. Walls:  Walls When aqueduct engineers had to cross shallow depressions in the landscape, they built the aqueduct on a wall. Simple to construct, walls are easier to build than arcades, although walls can impede the natural flow of water and people. When engineers needed to raise the aqueduct's channel more than 5’ above ground, they built arcades, which allow people and water to move freely beneath them. Walls:  Walls Arcades:  Arcades Arcades were used in valleys instead of trenches. When the aqueduct had to flow higher than about 5’, Roman engineers used an arcade. The arched arcades required less material than walls and don't interfere with the passage of water. The aqueducts were largely a gravity system. They had to keep the water at a certain level because if they lost that level, it was hard to get it back up again. When that channel came to a dip in the landscape the Romans built an arcade or a bridge to take the water over it. Istanbul, Turkey Carthage, Tunisia Arcade:  Arcade In Rome, the long dramatic arcades occur in the five or six miles right outside of town. They built them there because the land dips down before rising again to the hills in Rome. Arcades are not as disruptive to the landscape. A wall five miles long does damage to the transportation on the surface and creates a water barrier. The arcade, a series of arches, is beautiful. The Romans were so struck by the beauty of the arcades curving over the landscape that some of the best villas were built to look out over the aqueducts. Alexandria Arches Aqua Claudius Slope of the System:  Slope of the System Acording to Vitruvius; To give the water a proper fall, the slope on which the aqueduct was built, should not be less ½’ for every 100 feet (1 in 200). Pliny only allows ¼” in 100 feet. There is a considerable variation in the declivities of the aqueducts: for example, the Aqua Marcia and the Aqua Claudia, though of such different heights at Rome, have their sources at the same elevation. At convenient points on the course of the aqueduct, and especially near the middle and end, there was generally a reservoir in which the water might deposit any sediment that it contained. Anatomy of Arches:  Anatomy of Arches Arches:  Arches Point du gard, France Segovia, Spain Arches:  Arches Alexandrina Arches Merida, Spain Inverted Siphon:  Inverted Siphon Arch, Valley Nimes, France The Water Distribution System:  The Water Distribution System The water came into the city on a gravity system in the open air, like a stream. When it got to the city, it changed into a closed system. It did that by going into a large tank or water tower, called a castellum, typically placed at a high spot in the city. The Water Distribution System:  The Water Distribution System From the tanks, water would be transported through an underground system of pipes beneath the street. Water could be delivered up again to a height equal to the water level in the tank. It generally went to public fountains, baths or drinking basins, since only the very wealthy had their own private delivery pipes. Distribution System:  Distribution System The water flowed from the aqueduct a into the first upper chamber. Then down and up again through the openings b, c, e, into the second upper chamber. Then it passed into the continuation of the aqueduct f, having deposited its sediment in the two lower chambers. The chambers could be cleaned out by the door d. The piscina was not always vaulted. Distribution Basin, Nimes, France Basins:  Basins Ars, Metz, France Castella:  Castella The minor castella, which received the water from a chief head, were distributed over the city, in such a manner that: the Aqua Appia supplied 7 regiones through 20 castella; the Anio Vetus, 10 regiones through 35 castella; the Marcia, 10 regiones through 51 castella; the Tepula, 4 regiones through 14 castella; the Julia, 7 regiones through 17 castella; the Virgo, 3 regiones through 18 castella; the Claudia and the Anio Vetus, 92 castella. Trophies of Marius:  Trophies of Marius Located in Rome, this site was the castellum of an aqueduct. It was entire until the middle of the 16th century. The trophies, ten remaining in their places, are now placed on the Capitol. The ground plan explains part of the internal construction, and shows the arrangement adopted for disposing of the superfluous water of an aqueduct. Trophies of Marius:  Trophies of Marius The general stream of water is first divided by the round projecting buttress into two courses, which subdivide themselves into five minor streams, and finally fall into a reservoir. The Castella Publica:  The Castella Publica The castella publica was subdivided into six classes, which furnished water for the following uses: The Praetorian camp; the ponds and fountains; the circus, naumachiae, and amphitheatres; the baths, and the service of certain important handicrafts, such as the fullers, dyers, and tanners; irregular distributions made by special order of the emperor; extraordinary grants to private individuals by the favour of the prince. Collecting Basin, Cologne, Germany The Castella Privata:  The Castella Privata The castella privata were, as the name implies, for the supply of private houses. When a supply of water from the aqueducts was first granted for private uses, each person obtained his quantum by inserting a branch pipe into the main. Regulating Basin, Nimes, France The Castella Privata:  The Castella Privata In early times, all the water brought to Rome by the aqueducts was applied to public purposes exclusively, it being forbidden to the citizens to divert any portion of it to their own use, except such as escaped by flaws in the ducts or pipes, which was termed aqua caduca. The castella privata were built at the joint expense of the families supplied by them; but they were considered as public property, and were under the control of the curatores aquarum. The right of water did not follow the heir or purchaser of the property, but was renewed by grant upon every change in the possession. Splitting Basin, Köln, Germany Splitting Basin, Paris, France The Castella Privata:  The Castella Privata The leaden cisterns, which each person had in his own house to receive the water laid on from the castellum privatum, were called castella domestica. All the water which entered the castellum was measured, at its ingress and egress, by the size of the tube through which it passed. To distribute the water was termed erogare; the distribution, erogatio; the size of the tube, fistularum. Splitting Basin Cistern The Castella Privata:  The Castella Privata The smaller pipes which led from the main to the houses of private persons, were called punctae; those inserted by fraud into the duct itself, or into the main after it had left the castellum, fistulae illicitae. The erogatio was regulated by a tube called calix, of the diameter required, and not less than a foot in length, attached to the extremity of each pipe, where it entered the castellum. As a further security, the calix was stamped. Pipes which had no calix, were termed solutae. The velocity of the water passing through the calix, and the quantity given out, could be varied according to the angle which the calix made with the side of the reservoir. Collecting Basin, Köln, Germany Lead pipe with stamp Was the water potable?:  Was the water potable? The Romans were water connoisseurs. They actually ranked them. Ancient sources praised some water sources; others were some real stinkers. At the top of their list was the Aqua Marcia, one of the long aqueducts that came from the springs in the mountains and traveled 60 miles. In fact, a newer aqueduct of the same name delivers Rome's most prized water today from springs in that same area. Spring water was generally cooler than stream or lake water, and cleaner, too. Marcia Water Quality:  Water Quality Another source that was highly prized was an underground aqueduct, the Aqua Virgo, which is delivered to the Trevi fountain today. Today these waters would be undrinkable if they weren't treated because the city has spread out to include Virgo's springs. Water from other aqueducts would come in muddy and real stinkers. Aqua Virgo Did the Romans have any mechanisms for cleaning their water? :  Did the Romans have any mechanisms for cleaning their water? They didn't use chemicals, but they had other ways. First, they used settling basins. It was like a pool. The basins would slow the water down. As it slowed, the impurities or the load, as it's called, dropped out of it. That would remove some of the sand and other impurities. They also purified water by aerating it. The water in the aqueducts was exposed to air throughout its journey, although I don't know if the Romans knew this improved the quality of their water. Settling Basin, Metz, France Settling Basins:  Settling Basins Cologne, Germany Croatia Water Purification:  Water Purification Instead of a settling basin, one of the aqueducts had zigzags built into it. These zigzags caused the water to slow down, which would unload impurities. Occasionally the Romans would have to shut the water off. Someone would climb into a tunnel from the surface through a well hole. There would be little hand- and footholds carved into the walls of these shafts. Sometimes they'd go down 30, 50 feet. Slaves would shovel out impurities that would be hauled to the top in buckets. View encrusted calcite and minerals along walls. Did the water cost people or was it gratis from the Roman state? :  Did the water cost people or was it gratis from the Roman state? Both. Rome had so much water that many private users would get a grant from the emperor during imperial times. They didn't have to pay; it would be an act of patronage. Industrial users would have to pay. Most people would get their water from street basins, where the water was free. Pompeii probably has the best preserved distribution system. Its basins are fairly regularly spaced, so that most people didn't have to walk more than about 150 feet to get water. Roman apartment (Tenement) building. Maintenance of the System:  Maintenance of the System Augustus first established the office of curator aquarum to keep the aqueducts in repair, to regulate their use, and to prevent the fraudulent abstraction of their water. The overseer had plans and models made of the whole course of all the aqueducts. The curatores aquarum were invested with considerable authority. They were attended outside the city by two lictors, three public slaves, a secretary, and other attendants. Maintenance of the System:  Maintenance of the System In the time of Nerva and Trajan, a body of 460 slaves were constantly employed under the orders of the curatores aquarum in attending to the aqueducts. They were divided into two families, the familia publica, established by Agrippa, and the familia Caesaris, added by Claudius; and they were subdivided into the following classes: The villici: attended to the pipes and calices. The castellarii: supervised all the castella, both within and without the city. The circuitores, had to go from post to post, to examine into the state of the works, and to keep watch over the laborers.. The silicarii: had to remove and relay the pavement when the pipes beneath it required attention. The tectores:had charge of the masonry of the aqueducts. Receiving Basin, Siphon The Modern Aqueduct:  The Modern Aqueduct A modern engineering feat is in fact, a return to the Roman aqueduct. The aqueduct is preferred to any other plan for conveying water in large quantities a considerable distance, over great inequalities of ground. From 1837 to 1842, the river Croton was conveyed a distance of 40 miles, for the supply of New York. This feat is described as: "An artificial channel, built with square stones, supported on solid masonry, is carried over valleys, through rivers, under hills, on arches and banks, or through tunnels and bridges, over these forty miles. Not a pipe, but a sort of condensed river, arched over to keep it pure and safe, is made to flow at the rate of •a mile and a half an hour towards New York." A more exact description of an ancient Roman aqueduct could not easily be given. Arizona France

Add a comment

Related presentations

Related pages

Roman aqueduct - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Romans constructed numerous aqueducts in order to bring water from distant sources into their cities and towns, supplying public baths, latrines ...
Read more

Roman Aqueducts - UNRV

The great and highly advanced Roman waterway system known as the Aqueducts, are among the greatest achievements in the ancient world. The running water ...
Read more

Website on Roman aqueducts

Website on over 600 Roman aqueducts of which 75 described in detail
Read more > Roman aqueducts, most preserved aqueducts in Rome

Roman aqueducts, aqueducts in Rome The Roman aqueducts stand today, more than two thousand years later, as a testament to the engineering genius of the ...
Read more

Ancient Roman Aqueducts - Crystalinks

Ancient Roman Aqueducts. An aqueduct is a water supply or navigable channel constructed to convey water. In modern engineering, the term is used for any ...
Read more

Roman Aqueducts ‹ Roman Colosseum

Aqueducts in the Roman Empire. The first aqueduct in the city of Rome was the Aqua Appia, built in 312 BC during the Roman Republic. The combined length of ...
Read more

Ancient Roman Aqueducts - Colosseum

Ancient Roman Aqueducts. History, Facts and Information about Ancient Roman Aqueducts The content of this article provides interesting history, facts and ...
Read more

NOVA | Watering Ancient Rome - PBS: Public Broadcasting ...

Peter Aicher, author of "Guide to the Aqueducts of Ancient Rome," marvels at the Romans' elegant civil engineering.
Read more

Introduction on roman aqueducts and water supply systems

Given the elementary means, materials en tools which were available, it is remarkeble to see the precision withwhich the Roman aqueducts were laid out.
Read more

Aqueduct - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Roman aqueduct, water supply systems constructed during the Roman Empire; Puquios, underground water systems in Peru; Aryk, an artificial channel for ...
Read more