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Roman Aqueducts

Roman Aqueducts

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In the early days of Rome the city got its water from wells, local springs and the River Tiber. However, as the population grew it became clear that Rome would have to find another way of supplying its people with water.

A Roman called Appius Claudius was given the task of solving this problem. He eventually came up with the aqueduct system. It was not an original idea and was in fact based on a system used by Greeks living in southern Italy.

There were several problems with the first aqueduct built in 312 BC, but over the years Roman engineers were able to perfect the system. By the first century AD Rome had nine aqueducts bringing in millions of gallons of water every day.

The Romans built aqueducts all over their empire. One of the most impressive was the Zaghouan to Carthage aqueduct built in the second century AD. A large reservoir was built in the Zaghouan mountains and was connected to Carthage by a 80 kilometre pipeline.

When it was decided that a new aqueduct was needed, surveyors were sent out to search for a possible water source. As the aqueduct had to be built with a constant downward slope from beginning to end (the Romans aimed at a gradient of about one foot per mile), the water source had to be much higher than the place it was supplying. An ideal source would be a large mountain lake.

Before building the aqueduct, engineers had to decide on the best route for the pipeline. Sometimes this meant building a tunnel through a hill, while on other occasions the pipeline made diversions.

Inside the town or city, one or more large reservoirs would be built into which the water would go before being distributed. Each reservoir would be connected to three pipes. The first pipe ran to another tank that supplied the homes of the wealthy people. The other two pipes led to street fountains and public baths.

The reason for these three pipes was that it enabled the authorities to ration water when needed. For example, in times of shortage the water fountains would be the last to be turned off.

Before we begin to lay the water on, we study the bodies of those who live in the neighbourhood. If they are strong, of clear complexion, free from inflamed eyes, the water will pass... Water is much more wholesome from earthenware pipes than from lead pipes. For it seems that lead is harmful to the human body. For example, workers in lead have poor complexions.

All previous aqueducts have been completely outclassed by the lavish schemes begun by the Emperor Caligula... 350 million sesterces were expended on this project. If we take careful account of all the abundant supply of water for public buildings, baths, settling-tanks, pools, private mansions, gardens, and country estates close to the city, and the distance the water travels before entering the city, the height of the arches, the tunnelling of mountains, the levelling of routes across deep valleys, one must rate all this as the most remarkable achievement anywhere in the world.

Look how Virro grumbles as he hands out the bread, although it's so hard you can scarcely break it, solidified lumps of old mouldy dough that crack your grinders... But the loaf reserved for my patron is snowy-white, fresh-baked from the very finest flour. And remember, please, to keep your hands to yourself, to show a proper respect for the bread-pan. Yet if by chance you reach for a slice, someone is bound to make you drop it at once: "Keep to your own basket if you please, learn the colour of your bread!"

Virro is served with a lamprey: no finer specimen ever came from Sicilian waters... But what is in store for you? An eel, perhaps (though it looks like a water-snake), or a grey-mottled river pike, born and bred in the Tiber, bloated with sewage, a regular visitor to the cesspool underlying the slums of Rome.


1. How did the Roman engineers make sure that the water supplied by the aqueducts was healthy to drink?

2. Explain why Pliny the Elder was so proud of the aqueduct system. Comment on the reliability and value of this source.

3. Give as many reasons as you can why the Romans had to start building aqueducts in the 4th century BC. Explain how these different reasons were connected.

Aqueducts also supplied water to public latrines and baths. Latrines served 12-60 people at once with no dividers for privacy or toilet paper -- only a sponge on a stick in the water to pass around. Fortunately, water ran through the latrines constantly. Some latrines were elaborate and may have been amusing. Baths were more clearly a form of entertainment as well as hygiene.

When you live on the 6th floor of a walk-up with no latrine for blocks, the chances are you'll use a chamber pot. What do you do with its content? That was the question that faced many an insula dweller in Rome, and many answered in the most obvious way. They dumped the pot out the window onto any stray passerby. Laws were written to deal with this, but it still went on. The preferred act was to dump solids into sewers and urine into vats where it was eagerly collected and even bought by fullers who needed the ammonia in their toga cleaning business.

The main sewer of Rome was the Cloaca Maxima. It emptied into the Tiber River. It was probably built by one of the Etruscan kings of Rome to drain the marshes in the valleys between the hills.

By Donna Desrochers, "Classicist digs deep for truth about latrines, hygiene habits of ancient Romans,"

Roger D. Hansen, Water and Wastewater Systems in Imperial Rome

Lanciani, Rodolfo, The Ruins of Ancient Rome. Benjamin Blom, New York.

When in Rome

Before aqueducts, Romans relied on local water sources such as springs and streams. These were supplemented by groundwater from privately or publicly owned wells. Seasonal rainwater was also exploited by draining from rooftops into storage jars and cisterns, much like rainwater harvesting today. The reliance of ancient communities on these water resources restricted their potential growth.

By the early Imperial era, Rome's aqueducts supported a population of over a million. They also supplied extravagant water supply for public amenities such as baths, fountains and latrines.

[ Image Source: PaperBlog ]

Roman Aqueducts

This article was initially written by Robert Woods, ASME Fellow. This article contains material published in Mechanical Engineering Magazine Sept. 2003. Copyright 2003 American Society of Mechanical Engineers

At first glance, the most strikng feature of a Roman aqueuct is the mathematical precision of the arches. These structures are beautiful, and the Romans have written about their beauty, but aesthetics were only secondary. Aqueducts were built for a utilitarian purpose. They supplied the water that is the lifeblood of any civilization.

Without an abundant source, Rome, which in its prime in antiquity was a city of somewhere between a half-million and a million, could not have existed. These structures were too important to be the work of amateurs. Rome had a very professional corps of engineers who made a lasting contribution to Western civilization by building them.

The place of engineering in history can be judged by the traditional date for the beginning of the Dark Ages, March 537, when the king of the Ostrogoths cut the last aqueduct supplying water to Rome and proved conclusively that the Western empire was finished.

Pont du Gard, the aqueduct spanning the Gardon River north of Nimes, France, is one of the best surviving examples of Roman aqueduct construction. It transported water from a spring 20 km from the city center and only 14.6 meters above the point of delivery. In a straight line, this would have been a slope of a yard and a half per mile, but the route was far from straight. Because of the circuitous route, the channel's actual length was more than 50 km.

A 21st-century engineer can't help but ask, how did they do it? The structure was built 2,000 years before GPS or laser surveying equipment. It had long been thought that particular aqueduct was built around 20 B.C., probably by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, who also built the Pantheon and other structures in Rome. He worked upon direct orders from Caesar Augustus and was, in fact, Augustus's top aide in areas other than architecture. Later studies now date it to about 50 A.D. and attribute it to an unknown architect.

If we study these structures, we find that the Roman understanding of hydraulics was well advanced. We also find that surveying and construction depended on the primitive-not to be mistaken for crude-process of breaking every geometric problem into a series of orthogonal blocks of manageable human size and repeating the process as many times as needed to cover the horizontal and vertical extent of the terrain. This applied to site surveying as well as to the lofting of the structure.

Zero and 90-degree angles are fairly easy to lay out. Anything in between is another problem. The precise measurement of angles other than right angles was rarely done and, in the absence of trigonometry, would have been pointless.

This breaking of the problem into rectangles- or prisms in the three-dimensional case-can be thought of as mesh generation on a geological scale. Hero of Alexandria, around the first century A.D., wrote a series of Treatises on this subject. The steps by which he reduces the geometry of an irregular landscape to a series of orthogonal constructions look familiar to those of us who worked infinite element analysis during the days when we were hard put to program a computer to generate anything other than a square mesh.

The greatest part of our knowledge regarding Roman surveying instruments-along with information about a wealth of other ancient technology-comes from the writings of Marcus Vitruvius Pollio in the first century B.C. Among other topics, he discussed surveying in his 10 surviving books on architecture.

Plane mapping was accomplished with orthogonal grids that were laid out using an instrument that resembled a Tibetan prayer wheel. In that device, called a groma, a cross-shaped frame was mounted horizontally on a vertical column. At each end of the cross, a plumb bob was hung. Right angles were constructed by sighting along orthogonal pairs of wires.

Although it was the workhorse of Roman surveying, this arrangement was not easy to use in the field. Vitruvius emphasized that it was particularly difficult in any appreciable wind. The presence of a breeze called for various expedients, such as constructing tentlike screens around the instrument or the more sophisticated approach of dampening the swing of the bobs by suspending them in containers of liquid.

Maps were created using rectangles whose sizes were limited by the topography of the region, since it was necessary to sight visually, and with the unaided eye, along the edge of each rectangle.

Since nothing resembling the precision of modern theodolites existed, elevations were determined by an arrangement that was even more cumbersome than plane surveying. A choice of several instruments existed, but whichever was used, vertical offse ts were determined, not by measuring angles, but by establishing a horizontal reference at some point and sighting from that point to a measuring rod held vertically at the next survey point. This was repeated inchworm fashion as many times as necessary to reach the final elevation.

These measurements might then be tied to a planar surveying that had been done as a preliminary. The distance between each pair of points was limited by the practical length of a measuring rod and the need to maintain an unobstructed line of sight.

M.J.T. Lewis has published a work that is a dazzling combination of classical scholarship and pragmatic experimentation, Surveying Instruments of Greece and Rome (Cambridge University Press, 2001). Among other things, he has undertaken a comprehensive study of the limits of accuracy that are attainable using modern reconstructions of ancient instruments.

According to Lewis, it appears that in most cases the horizontal reference was established using an instrument called a dioptra, which was a suspended vertical sector fitted with an alidade and leveled by fore and back sighting. Another instrument, called a libra because of its resemblance to a scale, was also used.

In some cases, a clumsy arrangement called a chorobates was used. Lewis, a retired lecturer in industrial archaeology at the University of Hull in England, speculates that the credit given to this instrument by Vitruvius was out of proportion to its real usefulness. The chorobates was an elongated wooden platform, sometimes with a water-filled longitudinal groove, having plumb bobs on each end that were aligned with fiducial marks on the structure. These were used to level it to the horizontal.

Sighting at a far point was done along an optical path grazing the platform's surface. If the surveyer did it properly, the target point would be at the same elevation as the surface of the chorobates. In some cases, the groove was filled with water and the same process performed, sighting above the water level at each end of the instrument. This application is described in detail by Vitruvius.

The Roman practice of reducing a problem of irregular shapes to a series of manageable- sized orthogonal blocks may have been primitive, but it got remarkable results. The Romans could lay out structures successfully, as in the case of the Pont du Gard, with slopes of one part in over 4,000. Although a little luck may have been involved, that was impressive even by modern standards. That it was done with instruments as primitive as plumb lines and water levels is amazing.

The recent interest in applying modern analytic and experimental techniques to the study of ancient engineering has inspired a good deal of research. Hubert Chanson, a reader in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Queensland in Australia, has published several papers on the subject and has mounted an introductory Web site, "Some Hydraulics of Roman Aqueducts." The site gives numerous references to other literature, including experimental work by himself and V. Valenti in 1995.

Their conclusions demonstrate that the Roman hydrodynamicists, although working without the benefit of modern analytic techniques, were surprisingly sophisticated in their handling of large flow volumes and-sometimes-large hydrostatic heads. When it came to distributing water to end users, their work was less satisfactory.

After being conveyed cross-country by aqueduct, water was distributed to consumers in two ·vvays. The more common was public fountains, often very elaborate, which were social centers visited by the general populace bearing water jugs. Wealthier citizens and businesses had water delivered directly to their sites by a system of pipes and valves that closely resembled their modern counterparts.

The piping, typically lead, was remarkably durable. Functioning examples still exist after 2,000 years. Water was rationed to each user by calibrated orifices scaled to a user's annual fee. The engineering was, in fact, rather naive compared to the sophistication of the aqueducts themselves.

The flow rates of the orifices were poorly related to their cost. A bewildering assortment of standard orifices existed. These orifices were documented in great detail by Sextus Julius Frontinus when he was appointed, in the first century of our era, to the very responsible position of water commissioner.

If you care to brush up your Latin, his work is available in a 1969 edition, with an English translation by C.E. Bennett on one page and Latin on the other. Frontinus appears to have been a compulsive writer. He documented the aqueducts and their ancillaries in meticulous detail - in contrast to the casual attitude of the many bureaucrats who previously held his position.

In his writing on the aqueducts, he actually published as much on military tactics he gives the dimensions of 25 selected orifices along with speculation as to how the odd sizes came to exist. Although he devotes great attention to the question of diameter versus area, the length of the tap, which we know to be vital to discharge rate, is treated rather naively.

It doesn't appear that the characteristics of the taps were investigated with what we would now regard as scientific rigor, but then the Romans did not have two millennia during which the scientific approach evolved. In contrast to their science, their understanding of human nature left little room for criticism. We see this in Roman laws, many of which have been handed down to us unchanged.

The Romans understood that there will always be people who try to beat the system. Frontinus devoted much attention to discussing the devious means by which culprits helped themselves to more of the public water supply than they were entitled to. This sometimes took the form of concealed illegal taps, but the system could also be defeated by oversizing otherwise legal installations.

An effort was made to control such abuses using an approach we echo, two millennia later, in ASME Code stamps. Taps were stamped with their size by authorized inspectors. An unmarked tap could be immediately seen as illegal and deputies were held personally responsible for guaranteeing the dimensions of taps that had their stamp.

This was an example of the same Roman quest for perfection that would not permit them to tolerate inaccuracies in the arches so characteristic of their architecture. It is no coincidence that the man who was water commissioner also wrote a book on military tactics. This same instinct for precision gave Rome an army whose strict discipline, unique for armies of the time, made it master of the Western world.

Roman Aqueducts - History

Did the Romans Invent the Aqueduct?

This painting is of a section of an ancient Roman aqueduct on the outskirts of Caesarea Maritima to the south. The Romans used aqueducts to bring water into a city, they consisted of a cement-lined rectangular pipe supported on arches. The Romans built their first aqueduct in 312 BC. During the time of Augustus aqueducts brought nearly 300 million gallons of water per day to the city of Rome.

Aqueducts became one of Rome's greatest architectural marvels. They usually were constructed as arches, bridges, or siphons. This particular arched aqueduct was built by Herod to bring water from springs in the Carmel mountains in north Israel into the important city of Caesarea. The remains of this Ancient Roman Aqueduct is important in the study of Biblical archaeology. It corresponds exactly with what the Bible says concerning Herod, and concerning the achievements of the ancient Romans, and concerning the importance of ancient Caesarea during Biblical times.

Ancient aqueducts. Although particularly associated with the Romans, aqueducts were devised much earlier in Greece and the Near East and Indian subcontinent, where peoples such as the Egyptians and Harappans built sophisticated irrigation systems. Roman-style aqueducts were used as early as the 7th century BCE, when the Assyrians built an 80 km long limestone aqueduct, 10 m high and 300 m wide, to carry water across a valley to their capital city, Nineveh. [Wikipedia]

Ancient Caesarea Aqueduct Photo (click to enlarge)

Roman aqueducts were built in all parts of the Roman Empire, from Germany to Africa, and especially in the city of Rome, where they totaled over 415 km. The aqueducts supplied water to public baths and for drinking water, in large cities across the empire, and set a standard of engineering that was not surpassed for more than a thousand years. [Wikipedia]

Ancient Roman Aqueduct Sketch

AQUA DUCTUS. An aqueduct an artificial channel, frequently of many miles in length, for the purpose of conveying a pure stream of water from its source to any determinate point. (Cic. _Att. xiii. 6. Frontinus de Aquaeduct.) The illustration represents a portion of the aqueduct constructed by the emperor Claudius, which is built of travertine stone, and upon a single tier of arches but some aqueducts conveyed as many as three separate streams in distinct channels, one above another and others were built according to the nature of the sites over which they passed. The channel (specus), through which the water flowed, is seen uncovered at the top. [Roman Antiquities, Rich]

Aqueducts and the baths. The magnificent water supply of ancient Rome was primarily designed for public rather than for private use, and supplying the baths was one of its most important functions. The aqueducts which carried water to Rome from the distant hills were among the foremost responsibilities, at first of the Roman officials and later of the emperors. The water for the Baths of Garacalla was supplied by a branch which that emperor constructed from the Aqua Marcia, an aqueduct built about the middle of the second century B.C. Neglect of the aqueducts would, of course, soon destroy the usefulness of the baths. [Marvels of Ancient rome]

Ancient Roman Arch Sketch

The Arch , a mechanical arrangement by which tiles, bricks, or blocks of stone are disposed in the form of a curve, which enables them to support one another by their mutual pressure, and bear any superincumbent weight, such as a bridge, aqueduct, upper story of a building, &c. &c. Ovid. Met. iii. 169. Juv. Sat. iii. il. Though the principle upon which an arch is constructed was not entirely unknown to the Greeks, yet their universal adoption of the columnar style of architecture, and general deficiency of roads, aqueducts, and bridges, rendered its use unnecessary to them but the Romans employed it extensively in all their great works, as will be seen by numerous examples throughout these pages, and at a very early period, as shown by the illustration annexed, which is an elevation of the wall called the pulcrum littus on the banks of the Tiber, and the three concentric arches which formed the Cloaca Maxima, a structure belonging to the fabulous age of the elder Tarquin. [Roman Antiquities, Rich]

Note: The famous Pont Du Gard aqueduct with its supporting arches stands today 323 feet long and 53 feet high.

AQUAE DUCTUS usually signifies an artificial channel or water-course, by which a supply of water is brought from a considerable distance upon an inclined plane raised on arches, and carried across valleys and uneven country, and occasionally under ground, where hills or rocks intervene. As nearly all the ancient aquaeducts now remaining are of Roman construction, it has been generally imagined that works of this description were entirely unknown to the Greeks This, however, is an error, since some are mentioned by Pausanias and others, though too briefly to enable ns to judge of their particular construction whether they consisted chiefly of subterraneous channels bored through hills, or, if not, by what means they were carried across valleys, since the use of the arch, which is said to have been unknown to the Greeks, was indispensable for such a purpose. Probably those which have been recorded - such as that built by Pisistratus at Athens, that at Megara, and the celebrated one of Polycrates at Samos' - were rather conduits than ranges of building like the Roman ones. Of the latter, few were constructed in the times of the Republic. We are informed by Frontinus that it was not until about B.C, 313 that one was erected, the inhabitants supplying themselves up to that time with water from the Tiber, or making use of cisterns and springs. The first aquaduct was begun by Appius Claudius the Censor, and was named, after him, the Aqua Appia. From this aqueduct the water was conveyed from the distance of between seven and eight miles from the city, almost entirely under ground, since, out of 11,190 passus, its entire extent, the water was above ground only 60 passus before it reached the Porta Capeiia, and then was only partly carried on arches. Remains of this work no longer exist. Forty years afterward (B.C. 273) a second aquaeduct was begun by M. Curius Dentatus, by which the water was brought from the river Anio, 20 miles above Tibur (now Tivoli), making an extent c< 43,000 passus, of which only 702 were above ground and upon arches. This was the one afterward known by the name of Anio Vetus, in order to distinguish it from another aquaeduct brought from the same river, and therefore called Anio Novus. Of the Anio Vetus considerable remains may yet be traced, both in the neighbourhood of Tivoli and in the vicinity of the present Porta Maggiore at Rome. It was constructed of blocks of Peperino stone, and the water-course was lined with a thick coating of cement. In B.C. 179, the censors M. iEmilius Lepidus and M. Flaccus Nobilior proposed that another aqueduct should be built but the scheme was defeated in consequence of Licinius Crassus refusing to lei it be carried through his lands." A more abundant supply of water being found indispensable particularly as that furnished by the Anio Vetus was of such bad quality as to be 'almost unfit for drinking, the senate commissioned Quintus Marcius Rex, the praetor, who had superintended the repairs of the two aquaeducts already built, to undertake a third, which was called, after him, the Aqua Marcia.' This was brought from Sublaqueum (Subiaco) along an extent of 61,710 passus, viz., 54,267 under ground, and 7443 above ground, and chiefly on arches and was of such elevation that water could be supplied from it to the loftiest part of the Capitoline Mount. Of the arches of this aquaeduct a considerable number are yet standing. Of those, likewise, called the Aqua Tepula (B.C. 127), and 'to Aqua Julia (B.C. 35), which are next in point of date, remains are still existing and in the vicinity of the city, these two aquaeducts and the Marcia were all united in one line of structure, forming three separate water-courses, one above the other, the lowermost of which formed the channel of the Aqua Marcia, and the uppermost that of the Aqua Julia, and they discharged themselves into one reservoir in common. The Aqua Julia was erected by M. Agrippa during his Aedileship, who, besides repairing both the Anio Vetus and the Aqua Marcia, supplied the city with seven hundred wells (lacus), one hundred and fifty springs or fountains and one hundred and thirty reservoirs. Besides repairing and enlarging the Aqua Miircia, and, by turning a new stream into it, increasing its supply to double what it formerly had been,

Augustus built the aquaeduct called Alsielina, sometimes called Augusta after its founder. The water famished by it was brought from the Lake of Alsietinus, and was of such bad quality as to be scarcely fit for drinking on which account it has been supposed that Augustus intended it chiefly for filling his naumachia, which required more water than' could be spared from the other aquaeducts, its basin being 1800 feet in length and 1200 in breadth. It was in the reign, too, of this emperor that M. Agrippa built the aquaeduct called Ihe Aqua, Virgo, which niune it is said to have obtained because the spring which supplied it was first pointed out by a girl to some soldiers who were in search of water. Pliny, however, gives a different origin to the name.' Its length was 14,105 passus, of which 12,865 were under ground and, for some part of its extent above ground, it was decorated with columns and statues. This aqueduct still exists entire, having been restored by Nicholas V., although not completely until the' pontificate of Pius IV., 1568, and it still bears the name of Aqua Vergine. A few years later, a second aquaeduct was built by Augustus, for the purpose of supplying the Aqua Marcia in times of drought. The two gigantic works of the Emperor Claudius, viz., the Aqua Claudia and Anio Novus, doubled the former supply of water and although none of the later aquaeducts rivaled the Marcia in the vastness and solidity of its constructions, they were of considerably greater extent. The Claudia had been begun by Caligula in the year A.D. 38, but was completed by his successor,' and was, although less copious in its supply, not at all inferior to the Marcia in the excellence of its water. The other was, if not so celebrated for the quality of the water itself, remarkable for the quantity which it conveyed to the city, it being in that respect the most copious of them all. Besides, which, it was by far the grandest in point of architectural effect, inasmuch as it presented, for about the extent of six miles before it reached the city, a continuous range of exceedingly lofty structure, the arches being in some places 109 feet high. It was much more elevated than any of the other aquaeducts, and in one part of its course was carried over the Claudia.

Nero afterward made additions to this vast work, by continuing it as far as Mount Caelius where was a temple erected to Claudius. The Aqua Trajana, which was the work of the emperor whose name it bears, and was completed A.D 111, was not so much an entirely new and distinct aquaeduct as a branch of the Anio Novus brought from Sublaqueura, where it was supplied by a spring of purer water than that of the Anio. It was in the time of this emperor, and of his predecessor Nerva, that the superintendence of all the aquaeducts was held by. Sextus Julius Frontinus, whose treatise De Aquaductibus has supplied us with the fullest information now to be obtained relative to their history and construction. In addition to the aquaeducts which have been already mentioned, there were others of later date: namely, the Antoniana, A.D. 212 the Alexandrina, A.D. 230 and the Jovia, A.D. 300 but these seem to have been of comparatively little note, nor have we any particular account of them.

The magnificence displayed by the Romans in their public works of this class was by no means confined to the capital for aquaeducts more or less stupendous were constructed by them in various and even very remote parts of the empire - at Nicomedia, Ephesus, Smyrna, Alexandrea, Syracuse, Metz, Nismes (the Pont du Gard), Lyons, Evora, Merida, and Segovia. That at Evora, which was built by Quintus Sertorius, is still in good preservation and at its termination in the city has a very elegant castellum in two stories, the lower one of which has Ionic columns. Merida in Spain, the Augusta Emerita of the Romans, who established a colony there in the time of Augustus, has among its other antiquities the remains of two aquaeducts, of one of which thirty-seven piers are standing, with three tiers of arches while of the other there are only two which form part of the original constructions, the rest being modem. But that of Segovia, for which some Spanish writers have claimed an antiquity anterior to the sway of the Romans in Spain, is one of the most perfect and magnificent works of the kind anywhere remaining. It is entirely of stone, and of great solidity, the piers being eight feet wide and eleven in depth and where it traverses a part of the city, the height is upward oi a hundred feet, and it has two tiers of arches, the lowermost of which are exceedingly lofty. After this historical notice of some of the principal aquaeducts both at Rome and in the provinces, we now proceed to give some general account of their construction. Before the mouth or opening into the aquaeduct was, where requisite, a large basin (piscina limosa), in which the water was collected, in order that it might first deposit its impurities and similar reservoirs were formed at intervals along its course. The specus, or water-channel, was formed either of stone or brick coated with cement, and was arched over at top, in order to exclude the sun, on which account there were apertures or vent-holes at certain distances or where two or more such channels were carried one above the other, the vent-holes of the lower ones wore formed in their sides. The water, however, besides flowing through the specus, passed also through pipes either of lead or burned earth (terra-cotta), which latter were used not only on account of their greater cheapness, but as less prejudicial to the freshness and salubrity of the wafer. As far as was practicable, aquaeducts were carried in a direct line yet they frequently made considerable turns and windings in their course, either to avoid boring through hills, where that would have been attended with too much expense, or else to avoid, not only very deep valleys, but soft and marshy ground. In every aquaeduct, the castella or reservoirs were very important parts of the construction and besides the principal ones - that at its mouth and that at its termination - there were usually intermediate ones at certain distances along its course, both in order that the water might deposite in them any remaining sediment, and that the whole might be more easily superintended and kept in repair, a defect between any two such points being readily detected. Besides which, these castella were serviceable, inasmuch as they furnished water for the irrigation of fields and gardens, etc. The principal castellum or reservoir was that in which the aquaeduct terminated, and whence the water was conveyed by different branches and pipes to various parts of the city. This far exceeded any of the others, not in magnitude alone, but in solidity of construction and grandeur of architecture. The remains of a work of this kind still exist in what are called the Nove Sale, on the Esquiline Hill at Rome while the Piscina Mirabile, near Cuma, is still more interesting and remarkable, being a stupendous construction about 200 feet in length by 130 in breadth, whose vaulted roof rests upon forty-eight immense pillars, disposed in four rows, so as to form five aisles within the edifice, and sixty arches. Besides the principal castellum belonging to each aquaeduct (excepting the Alsietina, whose water was conveyed at once to the baths), there were, a number of smaller ones - altogether, it has been computed, 247- in the different regions of the city, as reservoirs for their respective neighbourhoods. The declivity of an aquaeduct (Libramentum aqua was at least the fourth of an inch in every 100 feet, or, according to Vitruvius, half a foot. During the times of the Republic, the censors and aediles had the superintendence of the aquaeducts but under the emperors particular officers were appointed for that purpose, under the title of curatores, or praefecti aquarum. These officers were first created by Augustus, and were invested with considerable authority. They were attended outside the city by two lictors, three public slaves, a secretary, and other attendants. In the time of Nerva and Trajan, about seven hundred architects and others were constantly employed, under the orders of the curatores aquarum, in attending to the aquaeducts. The officers who had charge of these works were, 1. The villici, whose duty it was to attend to the aquaeducts in their rourse to the city. 2. The casellarii, who had the superintendence of all the castella both within and without the city. 3. The circuitores, so called because they had to go from post to post, to examine into the state of the works, and also to keep watch over the labourers employed upon them. 4. The silicarii, or paviours. 5. The tectores, or plasterers. All these officers appear to have been included under the general term of aquarii. [Roman Antiquities, Smith]

Ancient Caesarea Maritima Aqueduct Photo (click to enlarge)

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions" - John 14:2

(Note: The word "Mansions" comes from the Roman word "mansiones" which was a place along a Roman Road where a weary traveler could get rest for the night.

Highways of the Roman Empire

Ancient Roman Roads - Bloodstream of the Empire

"When the fullness of time came, God brought forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law." (Gal 4:4)

The Roman road was the bloodstream of the empire. Merchants paid taxes to Rome on all their transactions, and they needed the roads to carry their goods to an ever-widening market. Legionnaires marched upon them swiftly gaining efficient access to battle. In a sense, the roads were funding and facilitating Roman expansion.

Yet God had a higher purpose. A new kind of merchant would soon be traversing the entire Mediterranean area, not one who transports his treasure to the city marketplace, but one who is a treasure, and who carries true riches, - not to sell, but to give away freely. The transforming good news of God?s forgiveness through Jesus the Messiah was imbedded into the hearts of the Apostles and early believers, and God prepared those roads for them to walk upon and lead others into His path.

A new kind of soldier would be running these well built thoroughfares to fight, - not flesh and blood, but a spiritual warfare that would liberate entire civilizations from the bondage of Satan?s tyrannical oppression and coercion, to a Kingdom ruled by love, service and willing devotion.

Throughout history ?the road? has provided an excellent metaphor for life?s journey. With amazement, we can look back over the winding grades of difficulty, the narrow pass of opportunity, the choice between security or adventure, when our road divided and we had to make the call.

Yes, all roads led to Rome, specifically the Forum, in the ancient empire of old, where an Emperor judged the players in the arena for their conduct before him. Our personal road will eventually and inevitably cease at the throne of Almighty God. It is He who must judge our travel upon this earth, in the blinding glory of His eternal justice. Compelled by His love, He placed sin?s damning penalty upon His Own Son, instead of us, so that we could freely receive the "thumbs up!" from Him who loves us beyond all measure.

Ancient Caesarea and Archaeology Caesarea: from Roman City to Crusader Fortress. Caesarea is located on the Mediterranean coast, about midway between Haifa and Tel Aviv. Archeological excavations during the 1950s and 1960s uncovered remains from many periods, in particular, a complex of fortifications of the Crusader city and the Roman theater. During the past 20 years, major excavations conducted by numerous expeditions from Israel and abroad have exposed impressive remains of the forgotten grandeur of both the Roman and the Crusader cities. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

Ancient Harbor at Caesarea The Harbor at Caesarea Perhaps one of the most impressive parts of ancient Caesarea was its harbor, Sebastos. At the time it was built in the 1st century BC, Sebastos Harbor ranked as the largest artificial harbor built in the open sea, enclosing around 100,000 m2[9][10]. King Herod built the two moles, or breakwaters, of the harbor between 22 and 15 BC[11], and in 10/9 BC he dedicated the city and harbor to Caesar (Sebastos is Greek for Augustus)[12]. The speed of the harbor?s construction is stunning considering its size and complexity. The moles were made of lime and pozzolana, a type of volcanic ash, that would set into concrete underwater. Herod imported over 24,000 m3 of pozzolana from Puteoli, Italy, in order to construct the 500 meter long southern breakwater and 275 meter long northern breakwater[13]. At a conservative estimate, a shipment of this size would have required at least 44 shiploads of 400 tons each[11]. Herod also had 12,000 m3 of kurkar quarried to make rubble and 12,000 m3 of slaked lime produced to mix with the pozzolana. However, constructing the moles was just as complicated as obtaining the materials. In order to build the moles, architects had to devise a way to lay the wooden forms for the concrete moles underwater. One technique was to drive stakes into the ground to make a box and then fill the box with pozzolana concrete bit by bit[9]. However, this method required lots of divers to spend large amounts of time underwater hammering in the stakes and it also used a lot of the valuable pozzolana. Another technique was a double planking method used in the northern breakwater. On land, carpenters would construct a box with beams and frames on the inside and a watertight, double-planked wall on the outside. This double wall was built with a 23 cm gap between the inner and outer layer[14]. Although the box had no bottom, it was buoyant enough to float out to sea because of the watertight space between the inner and outer walls. Once it was floated into position, pozzolana was poured into the gap between the two walls and the box would sink into place on the seafloor and be staked down in the corners. The flooded inside area was then filled by divers bit by bit with pozzolana-lime mortar and kurkar rubble until it rose above sea level[14]. On the southern breakwater of Sebastos Harbor, another type of construction, called barge construction, was used. The southern side of Sebastos is much more exposed to harsh waves than the northern side, leading it to need sturdier breakwaters. Instead of using the double planked method filled with rubble, the architects constructing the southern breakwater sank barges filled with layers of pozzolana concrete and lime sand mortar. The barges were similar to boxes without lids, and they were constructed using mortise and tenon joints, the same technique used in ancient boats, to ensure they remained watertight. The barges were ballasted with 0.5 meters of pozzolana concrete and floated out to their position. Alternating layers of pozzolana based and lime based concretes were hand placed inside the barge to sink it and fill it up to the surface[14]. During its height, Sebastos Harbor was one of the most impressive harbors of its time. It had been constructed on a coast that had no natural harbors and it served as an important commercial harbor in antiquity, even rivaling Cleopatra?s harbor at Alexandria. The ancient historian Josephus was so impressed with the harbor at Caesarea he wrote, ?Although the location was generally unfavorable, [Herod] contended with the difficulties so well that the solidity of the construction could not be overcome by the sea, and its beauty seemed finished off without impediment.?[15] However, while the harbor was impressive on the surface, it had some underlying problems that would soon lead to its demise. Studies of the concrete cores of the moles at Caesarea have shown that the concrete is much weaker than similar pozzolana hydraulic concrete used in various ancient Italian ports. For unknown reasons, the pozzolana mortar did not adhere as well to the kurkar rubble as it did to other rubble types used in Italian harbors[13]. Small but numerous holes in some of the cores also indicate that the lime used was of poor quality and was stripped out of the mixture by strong waves before it could set[13]. Also, large lumps of lime were found in all five of the cores studied at Caesarea, which shows that the pozzolana-lime mixture was not mixed thoroughly, perhaps due to the incredibly rapid construction of the harbor[13]. These structural deficits probably would not have seriously affected the harbor?s stability, except for one other detail ? the harbor had been constructed over a geological fault line that runs along the coast of Israel. Seismic action gradually took its toll on the breakwaters, causing them to tilt down and settle into the seabed[15]. Also, studies of seabed deposits at Caesarea have shown that a tsunami struck the area sometime between the 1st and 2nd centuries AD[16]. Although it is unknown if this tsunami simply damaged or completely destroyed the harbor, it is known that by the sixth century AD the harbor was unusable and today the moles rest over 5 meters underwater[17]. [Wikipedia]

Ancient History of Caesarea Caesarea is believed to have been built on the ruins of Stratonospyrgos (Straton's Tower), founded by Straton I of Sidon. and was likely an agricultural storehouse in its earliest configuration.[2] In 90 BCE, Alexander Jannaeus captured Straton's Tower as part of his policy of developing the shipbuilding industry and enlarging the Hasmonean kingdom. Straton's Tower remained a Jewish city for two generations, until the Roman conquest of 63 BCE when the Romans declared it an autonomous city. The pagan city underwent vast changes under Herod the Great, who renamed it Caesarea in honor of the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus. In 22 BCE, Herod began construction of a deep sea harbor and built storerooms, markets, wide roads, baths, temples to Rome and Augustus, and imposing public buildings.[3] Every five years the city hosted major sports competitions, gladiator games, and theatrical productions in its theatre overlooking the Mediterranian Sea. Caesarea also flourished during the Byzantine period. In the 3rd century, Jewish sages exempted the city from Jewish law, or Halakha, as by this time the majority of the inhabitants were non-Jewish.[4] The city was chiefly a commercial centre relying on trade. The area was only seriously farmed during the Rashidun Caliphate period, apparently until the Crusader conquest in the eleventh century.[4] Over time, the farms were buried under the sands shifting along the shores of the Mediterranean. [Wikipedia]

Caesarea Harbor Drawing and Photo In 10 B.C. Augustus Caesar decided to rebuild a small coastal station called Strato's Tower into a new city, which would be renamed Caesarea Maritima, in honor of Augustus. He allotted the task to the architectural mastermind Herod the Great. Herod built a harbor at Caesarea that would become one of the wonders of the ancient world. He built a massive breakwater which formed a horseshoe of protection around the whole bay. On the coast he built some of the most impressive works of architecture in the Roman world. He built an amphitheater, a citadel, a palace, a hippodrome, city walls and gates, paved squares with huge statues, and other marvels of Graeco-Roman civilization. It was here in Caesarea where the prefect Pontius Pilate lived, the foundation of his house was on a rock in the middle of the harbor and is still there to this day. [Bible History Online]

Caesarea in New Testament Times The Roman City. Founded by King Herod in the first century BCE on the site of a Phoenician and Greek trade post known as Stratons Tower, Caesarea was named for Herods Roman patron, Augustus Caesar. This city was described in detail by the Jewish historian Josephus Flavius. (Antiquities XV. 331 ff War I, 408 ff) It was a walled city, with the largest harbor on the eastern Mediterranean coast, named Sebastos, the Greek name of the emperor Augustus. The temple of the city, dedicated to Augustus Caesar, was built on a high podium facing the harbor. A broad flight of steps led from the pier to the temple. Public buildings and elaborate entertainment facilities in the imperial tradition were erected. King Herods palace was in the southern part of the city. In the year 6 CE, Caesarea became the seat of the Roman procurators of Provincia Judaea and headquarters of the 10th Roman Legion. In the 2nd and 3rd centuries, the city expanded and became one of most important in the eastern part of the Roman Empire, classified as the "Metropolis of the Province of Syria Palaestina." Caesarea played an important role in early Christian history. Here the baptism of the Roman officer Cornelius took place (Acts 10:1-5, 25-28) from here Paul set sail for his journeys in the eastern Mediterranean and here he was taken prisoner and sent to Rome for trial. (Acts 23:23-24) The palace was built on a rock promontory jutting out into the sea, in the southern part of the Roman city. The excavations revealed a large architectural complex, measuring 110 x 60 m., with a decorative pool, surrounded by porticoes. This elegant structure in its unique location was identified as Herods palace. (Antiquitites, XV, 332) The palace was in use throughout the Roman period, as attested to by two columns with Greek and Latin dedicatory inscriptions naming governors of the province of Judea. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

Caesarea in the First Century Under the Romans Herod built his palace on a promontory jutting out into the sea, with a decorative pool surrounded by stoas. In 13 BC, Caesarea became the civilian and military capital of Iudaea Province (sometimes spelled Judaea), and the official residence of the Roman procurators and governors, Pontius Pilatus, praefectus and Antonius Felix. Josephus describes the harbor as being as large as the one at Piraeus, the major harbor of Athens. Remains of the principal buildings erected by Herod and the medieval town are still visible today, including the city walls, the castle and a Crusader cathedral and church. Archaeological excavations in the 1950s and 1960s uncovered remains from many periods, in particular, a complex of Crusader fortifications and a Roman theatre. Other buildings include a temple dedicated to Caesar a hippodrome rebuilt in the 2nd century as a more conventional theater the Tiberieum, which has a limestone block with a dedicatory inscription [6] This is the only archaeological find with an inscription mentioning the name "Pontius Pilatus" a double aqueduct that brought water from springs at the foot of Mount Carmel a boundary wall and a 200 ft (60 m) wide moat protecting the harbour to the south and west. The harbor was the largest on the eastern Mediterranean coast. Caesarea grew rapidly, becoming the largest city in Judea, with an estimated population of 125,000 over an urban area of 3.7 square kilometers. In 66 AD, a massacre of Jews here and the desecration of the local synagogue led to the disastrous Jewish revolt.[7] Vespasian declared it a colony and renamed it Colonia Prima Flavia Augusta Caesarea. In 70 AD, after the doomed Jewish revolt had been suppressed, games were held here to celebrate the victory of Titus. Many Jewish captives taken during the revolt were brought to Caesarea Maritima and 2500 were slaughtered in Gladiatorial games.[8] Early Christian mentions of Caesarea in the apostolic period follow the acts of Peter who established the church there when he baptized Cornelius the Centurion (Acts, 10, 11). The Apostle Paul often sojourned there (9:30 18:22 21:8), and was imprisoned at Caesarea for two years before being taken to Rome (23:23, 25:1-13). [Wikipedia]

Caesarea in Wikipedia Caesarea (Hebrew: קֵיסָרְיָה‎ Arabic: قيسارية‎, Kaysaria Greek: Καισάρεια) is a town in Israel on the outskirts of Caesarea Maritima, the ancient port city. It is located mid-way between Tel Aviv and Haifa (45 km), on the Israeli Mediterranean coast near the city of Hadera. Modern Caesarea as of December 2007 has a population of 4,500 people,[1] and is the only Israeli locality managed by a private organization, the Caesarea Development Corporation, and also one of the most populous localities not recognized as a local council. It lies under the jurisdiction of the Hof HaCarmel Regional Council.

Caesarea in Wikipedia Caesarea (Hebrew: קֵיסָרְיָה‎ Arabic: قيسارية‎, Kaysaria Greek: Καισάρεια) is a town in Israel on the outskirts of Caesarea Maritima, the ancient port city. It is located mid-way between Tel Aviv and Haifa (45 km), on the Israeli Mediterranean coast near the city of Hadera. Modern Caesarea as of December 2007 has a population of 4,500 people,[1] and is the only Israeli locality managed by a private organization, the Caesarea Development Corporation, and also one of the most populous localities not recognized as a local council. It lies under the jurisdiction of the Hof HaCarmel Regional Council. History [edit]Early history Further information: Caesarea Maritima Caesarea is believed to have been built on the ruins of Stratonospyrgos (Straton's Tower), founded by Straton I of Sidon. and was likely an agricultural storehouse in its earliest configuration.[2] In 90 BCE, Alexander Jannaeus captured Straton's Tower as part of his policy of developing the shipbuilding industry and enlarging the Hasmonean kingdom. Straton's Tower remained a Jewish city for two generations, until the Roman conquest of 63 BCE when the Romans declared it an autonomous city. The pagan city underwent vast changes under Herod the Great, who renamed it Caesarea in honor of the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus. In 22 BCE, Herod began construction of a deep sea harbor and built storerooms, markets, wide roads, baths, temples to Rome and Augustus, and imposing public buildings.[3] Every five years the city hosted major sports competitions, gladiator games, and theatrical productions in its theatre overlooking the Mediterranian Sea. Caesarea also flourished during the Byzantine period. In the 3rd century, Jewish sages exempted the city from Jewish law, or Halakha, as by this time the majority of the inhabitants were non- Jewish.[4] The city was chiefly a commercial centre relying on trade. The area was only seriously farmed during the Rashidun Caliphate period, apparently until the Crusader conquest in the eleventh century.[4] Over time, the farms were buried under the sands shifting along the shores of the Mediterranean. In 1251, Louis IX fortified the city. The French king ordered the construction of high walls (parts of which are still standing) and a deep moat. However strong the walls were, they could not keep out the sultan Baybars, who ordered his troops to scale the walls in several places simultaneously, enabling them to penetrate the city. Further information: Qisarya Caesarea lay in ruins until the nineteenth century when the village of Qisarya (Arabic: قيسارية‎, the Arabic name for Caesarea) was established in 1884 by Muslim immigrants from Bosnia who built a small fishing village on the ruins of the Crusader fortress on the coast.[5][6] The kibbutz of Sdot Yam was established 1 km south in 1940. Many of Qisarya's inhabitants left before 1948, when a railway was built bypassing the port, ruining their livelihood. Qisarya had a population of 960 in 1945.[7] During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War part of the population fled for fear of attacks before it was conquered by Jewish forces in February, after which the remaining inhabitants were expelled and the village houses were demolished.[8] During the conquest of Qisarya a number of the Arab inhabittants were killed. According to a testimony collected from Battalion members obtained by Israeli historian Uri Milstein: "In February 1948, the 4th Batallion of Palmach, under the command of Josef Tabenkin, conquered Caesaria.".

Caesarea Maritima in Wikipedia Caesarea Maritima (Greek: . . ), called Caesarea Palaestina from 133 AD onwards,[1] was a city and harbor built by Herod the Great about 25?13 BC. Today, its ruins lie on the Mediterranean coast of Israel about halfway between the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa, on the site of Pyrgos Stratonos ("Strato" or "Straton's Tower", in Latin Turris Stratonis).[2] Caesarea Maritima as with Caesarea Philippi in the Golan Heights and Caesarea Mazaca in Anatolian Cappadocia was named to flatter the Caesar. The city was described in detail by the 1st century Roman Jewish historian Josephus.[3] The city became the seat of the Roman praefecti soon after its foundation. The emperor Vespasian raised its status to that of a colonia. After the destruction of Jerusalem, in 70 A.D., Caesarea was established as the provincial capital of Iudaea Province before the change of name to Syria Palaestina in 134 A.D. shortly before the suppression of the Bar Kokhba revolt.[4] According to historian H.H. Ben-Sasson, Caesarea was the "administrative capital" beginning in 6 A.D.[5] Caesarea remained the capital until the early 8th century, when the Umayyad caliph Suleiman transferred the seat of the government of the Jund Filastin to the newly built city of Ramla.

Pontius Pilate Inscription In June 1961 Italian archaeologists led by Dr. Frova were excavating an ancient Roman amphitheatre near Caesarea-on-the-Sea (Maritima) and uncovered this interesting limestone block. On the face is a monumental inscription which is part of a larger dedication to Tiberius Caesar which clearly says that it was from "Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea." It reads: Line One: TIBERIEUM, Line Two: (PON) TIUS, Line Three: (PRAEF) ECTUS IUDA (EAE). This is the only known occurrence of the name Pontius Pilate in any ancient inscription. Visitors to Caesarea's theater today see a replica, the original is in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. It is interesting as well that there have been a few bronze coins found that were struck form 29-32 AD by Pontius Pilate. [Bible History Online]

The Amphitheatre at Caesarea The amphitheater, on the citys southern shore, was also mentioned by Josephus Flavius. It was north-south oriented and measured 64 x 31 m. Its eastern and rounded southern side are well preserved the western side was largely destroyed by the sea. A 1.05 m-high wall surrounded an arena, covered with crushed, beaten chalk. When first built in the Herodian period, it seated about 8,000 spectators in the first century CE seating areas were added, increasing its capacity to 15,000. The dimensions, shape and installations indicate that this amphitheater was used for racing horses and chariots and was, in fact, a hippodrome. An inscription found here reads Morismus [the] charioteer. During the second century, the amphitheater was rebuilt and adapted for use as a more standard type of amphitheater. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

The Aqueduct at Caesarea The Aqueduct, which provided an abundant supply of water, was built in the Herodian period it was later repaired and enlarged to a double channel when the city grew. The upper aqueduct begins at the springs located some nine kilometers northeast of Caesarea, at the foot of Mt. Carmel. It was constructed with considerable engineering know-how, ensuring the flow of water, by gravity, from the springs to the city. In some portions, the aqueduct was supported by rows of arches, then it crossed the kurkar ridge along the coast via a tunnel. Entering the city from the north, the water flowed through a network of pipes to collecting pools and fountains throughout the city. Many inscriptions in the aqueduct ascribe responsibility for its maintenance to the Second and Tenth Legions. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

The Theater at Caesarea and the Pontius Pilate Stone Inscription The theater is located in the very south of the city. It was commissioned by King Herod and is the earliest of the Roman entertainment facilities built in his kingdom. The theater faces the sea and has thousands of seats resting on a semi-circular structure of vaults. The semi-circular floor of the orchestra, first paved in painted plaster, was later paved with marble. In the excavated theater a stone was found, bearing parts of an inscription mentioning Pontius Pilate, Procurator of Judea, and the Tiberium (the edifice in honor of the Emperor Tiberius) which he built. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

Travel to Caesarea Some of the best Israel Holy Land tours stop at archaeologically rich sites such as Caesarea, which was built as part of Herod the Great?s mission to ?Hellenize? the Holy Land during the 1st century BCE. He built it in the style of a classic Greek city with a stadium and amphitheater. Herod was a bit of a revolutionary as well, creating an artificial harbor by piling concrete under the water?the first time this was every done in history. Caesarea was the capital of Palestine during Roman rule and it is the location where Peter converted Cornelius (a Roman centurion), where Paul stayed in prison prior to being taken away to Rome and where Bar Kochba revolt leaders were tried and put to death. Caesarea is also known for its archaeological sites such as the theater built by Herod, Byzantine Archive Buildings, Cardo Maximum, an amphitheater and much more. Acts Chapter 10:1-8 1 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, 2 a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms liberally to the people, and prayed constantly to God. 3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, ?Cornelius.? 4 And he stared at him in terror, and said, ?What is it, Lord?? And he said to him, ?Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. 5 And now send men to Joppa, and bring one Simon who is called Peter 6 he is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the seaside.? 7 When the angel who spoke to him had departed, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those that waited on him, 8 and having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa. Acts Chapter 23:23-35 23 Then he called two of the centurions and said, ?At the third hour of the night get ready two hundred soldiers with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go as far as Caesarea. 24 Also provide mounts for Paul to ride, and bring him safely to Felix the governor.? 25 And he wrote a letter to this effect: 26 ?Claudius Lysias to his Excellency the governor Felix, greeting. 27 This man was seized by the Jews, and was about to be killed by them, when I came upon them with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman citizen. 28 And desiring to know the charge on which they accused him, I brought him down to their council. 29 I found that he was accused about questions of their law, but charged with nothing deserving death or imprisonment. 30 And when it was disclosed to me that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, ordering his accusers also to state before you what they have against him.? 31 So the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 And on the morrow they returned to the barracks, leaving the horsemen to go on with him. 33 When they came to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they presented Paul also before him. 34 On reading the letter, he asked to what province he belonged. When he learned that he was from Cilicia 35 he said, ?I will hear you when your accusers arrive.? And he commanded him to be guarded in Herod?s praetorium. (America Israel Travel)

The Word "Caesarea" is Mentioned many Times in the Bible

Acts 10:1 - There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian [band],

Acts 23:23 - And he called unto [him] two centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night

Mark 8:27 - And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?

Acts 12:19 - And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that [they] should be put to death. And he went down from Judaea to Caesarea, and [there] abode.

Acts 21:8 - And the next [day] we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was [one] of the seven and abode with him.

Acts 25:6 - And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Caesarea and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought.

Acts 8:40 - But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.

Acts 10:24 - And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.

Acts 21:16 - There went with us also [certain] of the disciples of Caesarea, and brought with them one Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple, with whom we should lodge.

Acts 25:4 - But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly [thither].

Acts 25:13 - And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus.

Matthew 16:13 - When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

Acts 23:33 - Who, when they came to Caesarea, and delivered the epistle to the governor, presented Paul also before him.

Acts 25:1 - Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem.

Acts 9:30 - [Which] when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.

Acts 18:22 - And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.

Acts 11:11 - And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me.

The Word "Caesar" is Mentioned many Times in the Bible
(Note: It was not always Tiberius because he died in 37 A.D.)

Luke 3:1 - Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene.

Matthew 22:21 - They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's.

Luke 3:1 - Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,

John 19:15 - But they cried out, Away with [him], away with [him], crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.

John 19:12 - And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.

Luke 20:25 - And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's.

Mark 12:14 - And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?

Mark 12:17 - And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him.

Acts 27:24 - Saying, Fear not, Paul thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.

Luke 23:2 - And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this [fellow] perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.

Acts 11:28 - And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.

Acts 25:11 - For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar.

Acts 25:21 - But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar.

Acts 17:7 - Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, [one] Jesus.

Luke 2:1 - And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

Acts 28:19 - But when the Jews spake against [it], I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar not that I had ought to accuse my nation of.

Matthew 22:17 - Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?

Acts 25:8 - While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all.

Acts 26:32 - Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar.

Luke 20:22 - Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?

Acts 25:12 - Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.

Some Scriptures mentioning the word "Rome"

Acts 23:11 - And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

2 Timothy 4:22 - The Lord Jesus Christ [be] with thy spirit. Grace [be] with you. Amen. <[The second [epistle] unto Timotheus, ordained the first bishop of the church of the Ephesians, was written from Rome, when Paul was brought before Nero the second time.]>

Acts 18:2 - And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.

Colossians 4:18 - The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace [be] with you. Amen. <[Written from Rome to Colossians by Tychicus and Onesimus.]>

Ephesians 6:24 - Grace [be] with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen. <[To [the] Ephesians written from Rome, by Tychicus.]>

Philemon 1:25 - The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with your spirit. Amen. <[Written from Rome to Philemon, by Onesimus a servant.]>

Acts 2:10 - Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,

Acts 19:21 - After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.

Acts 28:16 - And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.

Romans 1:7 - To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called [to be] saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Galatians 6:18 - Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with your spirit. Amen. <[To [the] Galatians written from Rome.]>

Philippians 4:23 - The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with you all. Amen. <[To [the] Philippians written from Rome, by Epaphroditus.]>

Acts 28:14 - Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome.

Romans 1:15 - So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

2 Timothy 1:17 - But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found [me].

Daniel 2:40 - "And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all [things]: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise."

Acts 23:11 - And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

Roman Aqueducts - History

Before the world had cities, steady homes, and a consistent source of water and food, people roamed from place to place in search of water and food. Where ever the water source lead them, that is where they would stay until the water source became dry. Around 6500 BC, people discovered the art of agriculture, which gave people a constant source of food. This was the end of the nomadic lifestyle and the start of human civilization. Now, agriculture requires a large amount of water, so in effect, these human civilizations where centered by main water supplies.

In Rome, this main water supply was the Tiber River and other natural springs around the region. As the agriculture grew, and food supply became more and more bountiful, the population of Rome grew quickly. The problem the Roman Engineers saw was the fact that humans need water, to drink, to clean, and to perform many daily tasks. The Roman aqueducts were the solution to this problem. Many different aspects of civil engineering were involved in the planning and building of this aqueduct system such as: materials, water resources, geotechnical, structural, and environmental. All of these civil engineering disciplines were crucial in the Roman Aqueduct construction.

The first aqueduct, the Aqua Appia, was built in 312 BC. Eleven total aqueducts were built for the city of Rome and the near 200 surrounding cities over the next 500 years. The last aqueduct, the Aqua Alexandrina, was built in 226 BC. The longest distanced reached was about 59 miles away from the city by Aqua Novus. This water technology surpassed all other civilizations water technology for over 2,000 years.

In the western empire era, German tribes cut all of the water supply to Rome, except for the underground aqueduct, Aqua Virgo. A few lines were restored in the upcoming years, but the full restoration of running water wasn’t brought back until the Renaissance. “At the height of the ancient city’s population of approximately 1,000,000 inhabitants, the water system was capable of delivering up to 1 cubic meter of water per person in the city, more than what is commonly available in most cities today.” (UNRV, 2011)

Lesson History and Geometry of Roman Aqueducts

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Aqueducts are massive and long water channels built by the Romans to transfer water over long distances.


Engineering Connection

The geometry and engineering employed by the Romans enabled them to create structures never before possible. The invention of the Roman arch gave them the capability to build larger and heavier structures than any other civilization up to that point. These arches were designed in such a way that the force applied down on them was directed horizontally instead of vertically. This meant that they could place larger weight on these structures without sacrificing safety. At the time, Roman engineers incorporated these arches in almost every structure they built, including the Colosseum and water aqueducts. These methods however were not only employed by the ancient Romans, but are still used today in modern structures such as bridges.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students should be able to:

  • Explain how Roman aqueducts worked, what they were used for, and why they were so innovative and necessary for the time.
  • Describe tools and processes used by Roman engineers to build aqueducts over long distances.
  • Solve simple calculations using the Pythagorean Theorem to find the slope of an aqueduct over a long distance.

Educational Standards

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All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standards Network (ASN), a project of D2L (www.achievementstandards.org).

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International Technology and Engineering Educators Association - Technology

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State Standards
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Worksheets and Attachments

More Curriculum Like This

Students explore in detail how the Romans built aqueducts using arches—and the geometry involved in doing so. They calculate the slope of the small-sized aqueduct based on what was typical for Roman aqueducts at the time, aiming to construct the ideal slope over a specified distance in order to achi.

Students are presented with a brief history of bridges as they learn about the three main bridge types: beam, arch and suspension. They are introduced to two natural forces — tension and compression — common to all bridges and structures.

Pre-Req Knowledge

Students must know the Pythagorean Theorem and how to solve for the length of sides of right triangles.


(Be ready to show the class an online 10-minute video, Roman Engineering-Aqueducts. Queue up the video to start at minute 6:30 showing the first part of the video is optional. Make copies of the Arch Research Worksheet, one per student. Also have available computers with Internet access for student pairs to conduct research. Kick off the lesson by telling students the following information.)

Geometry contributes greatly to the world of engineering. Nearly every human-made structure includes geometric shapes that compose its form. Think about it—it is difficult to find a structure without a shape! Every building structure incorporates geometrical shapes ranging from circles to complex polygons. These shapes can be found in all structures because they are fundamental to the architecture. In the rare cases when buildings are made strictly from curved features with no particular geometric shape whatsoever (maybe caves or hobbit houses!), you can imagine that it would be difficult to verify that the structure is safe to use or occupy since it would be challenging to analyze the structure from an engineering point of view.

Geometry is a tool that can be used in many different applications and has been used to build structures for thousands of years. It has an important and impressive history.

Continuing Teacher Instructions

Next, show the class the last three minutes of the online video. Start at minute 6:30 the key information for this lesson begins at minute 7:00. Pause the video at 7:38 and ask students to work with one other person to calculate the slope of the aqueduct mentioned in the video. Student answers will vary, given the approximation provided by the video. If students need help, remind them that the video mentioned that the aqueduct dropped just “several inches every 100 feet,” which is about 1 meter per 1 kilometer (1 meter = 3.28 feet 1 kilometer = 3280 feet). Thus, prompt students to convert the meter and kilometer units into feet to yield a simplified fraction with a rise of -1 foot. (Answer: rise = -1 foot run = 1000 feet) Lead a short discussion with the class and ask a few students to share their answers check to make sure the rest of the class arrived at the same answer. Then continue watching the video until the end.

After students have finished watching the video, go back to the example that they solved previously about the slope of the aqueduct. Direct students to get back with their partners and calculate the total drop of the longest aqueduct built (approximately 53 miles, 5280 feet = 1 mile) and ask them to calculate the angle in degrees of the aqueducts relative to flat ground. (Answers: drop = 279.84 feet angle = .057 degrees) After students have completed their calculations, lead a short discussion to review the logic of the calculations like before, to make sure all students obtained the correct answer.

Next, direct students to do some Internet research on Roman arches. Have students work with the same partner as before. Hand out the worksheets. Suggest they search using keywords such as Roman arch, Roman aqueduct, Roman engineering. Direct them to investigate to find out the following two pieces of information and complete worksheet questions 1 and 2.

  1. Determine the version of the Roman arch that was used to build the aqueducts. (A good resource for the names of arch types is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arch.)
  2. Identify the device the Romans used to make sure the aqueducts ran at a steady slope across the entire length. (A useful website is http://www.romanaqueducts.info/picturedictionary/pd_onderwerpen/tools.htm.)

After 10 minutes, lead a class discussion about the types of arches students found. If anyone uncovered different answers, ask them to explain why they chose that arch version. Example questions: What types of arches did you find? Did anyone find different arches? Why did you choose that arch type?

Also discuss the device(s) the Romans used to measure slope and see if anyone was able to find the name(s) of it/them (chorobate, dioptra, groma, libella, etc.) and the similar device that is used today (level). Example questions: What did you find out about the device the Romans used to measure slope? What was it called? Did you find out about a device used now that is very similar?)

Lastly, direct students to focus on worksheet question 3, continuing to use their computers to research the Roman aqueducts and how they were engineered. A good website to get students started is https://www.history.com/news/history-lists/10-innovations-that-built-ancient-rome. Suggest that students find as many sources as possible for their information, and generally strive to be unique and creative in their searches. If they use Wikipedia, advise them to look at the Wikipedia page’s source references rather than the Wikipedia page itself.

After 15 minutes, pull the groups back together for a class discussion about how the aqueducts were built. Inform them that in the upcoming associated activity Let’s Build an Aqueduct! , they will apply what they have learned to design their own mini-aqueducts to transport water from one location to another.

Lesson Background and Concepts for Teachers

The arch most commonly used by the Romans in their architecture is called the round or semicircle arch. Roman arches are built by using a support bridge to hold up the stones until the final stone, the keystone, is placed. The keystone spreads the downwards force and enables the arch to support large weights. The semicircle arch is built so that the arch height is exactly half of the arch width. Material must be placed on the sides of the arches because the force acting vertically is redirected horizontally by the arch.

Although these arches were invented and used during Roman times, they still have relevance today. The arch was such a hugely innovative way to build stronger structures using less material that they are often used in modern designs. Arches not only add style to structures, but they also enable structures to support far more weight than other shapes.

Associated Activities

  • Let’s Build an Aqueduct! - Students use what they learned about Roman arches from this lesson to build their own model aqueducts that transfer water from one location to another. Given a set of constraints (three-foot water channel distance, number of arches per foot, semicircular arch shape, and slope for ideal water flow), groups design small-size aqueducts and create them with hot glue and wooden cube blocks, including making trigonometric calculations and building their own temporary arch support structures. Then they test them with water.


aqueduct: A bridge structure built to transport water from a point A to a point B.

arcade: A series of adjoining rounded arches.

arch: A curved architectural structure that spans a space and supports the weight it carries.

keystone: The central and final stone placed in the arch, located in the top center.


Embedded Assessment

Basic Calculations: During the introductory class discussion, ask students the following questions. Then make sure all students are able to arrive at the correct answers.

  • Ask student pairs to solve the problem about the slope of the aqueduct mentioned in the video.
  • Ask student pairs to calculate the total drop and angle of the longest aqueduct built (

Research Questions 1 & 2: As student pairs are conducting online research to answer questions 1 and 2 on the Arch Research Worksheet, roam around to make sure they are on the right track. Then lead a short class discussion using the question provided in the Introduction/Motivation section to prompt students to describe what they learned online and share their findings. Also refer to the Arch Research Worksheet Answer Key.

Lesson Summary Assessment

Research Question 3: To answer question 3 on the Arch Research Worksheet, students continue online research about aqueducts and how they were engineered (not focusing on dates or people’s names). They collect information and then share their findings during a class discussion. Assignment tip: Assigning each student pair a single topic to research from the eight example questions provided on the worksheet often helps to focus the investigations and uncover more information in the end. Student research tip: If students plan to use Wikipedia, which is always a good source of information, tell them to use the source material for Wikipedia rather than the Wikipedia page itself. Directing students to find as many sources as possible for their information results in a better discussion at the end. Challenge them to be unique and creative in their searches. You do not want the entire class getting all of its information from the same source because that limits the input and dampens the discussion.

  • Example questions: What materials did the Romans use? What was different about how the Romans held their materials together? How many types of arch designs were you able to find? How did the Romans go through mountains at a constant slope? What sort of formulas did the Romans use in their engineering? How do you apply these formulas? What sorts of other tools did the Romans use? How long would it take to build one of these arches?)
  • Example answers: The Romans typically used concrete and occasionally lead pipe for some sections. Roman concrete used volcanic ash, which made it extremely strong and why some Roman building still stand today. They used formulas to calculate the arch designs. Aqueducts took 1-2 years to finish depending on size. Devices called chorobates and dioptra were used to calculate slopes. Also refer to the Arch Research Worksheet Answer Key.



Supporting Program


This activity was developed by CU Teach Engineering, a pathway to STEM licensure through the Engineering Plus degree program in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado Boulder.


The first record of an aqueduct appeared in 691 B.C. in Assyria. This 34 mi (55 km) long aqueduct was simple, consisting of a single arch over one valley. At that time, Greeks were using wells to retrieve water from underground pools. Certain plants, such as fig trees, marked water sources because their roots grow in water. The first Greek aqueduct followed in 530 B.C. on the island of Samos. This aqueduct was built by an engineer named Eupalinus, who was told to supply the city with water by tunneling a pathway through a mountain. The Samos aqueduct extended for about 1 mi (1.6 km) underground, and had a diameter of 8 ft (2.4 m). These first aqueducts demonstrated an understanding of siphons and other basic hydraulic principles.

While ancient Roman aqueducts evolved into an extensive network of canals supplying the city, the first one, the Aqua Appia, was not built until 312 B.C. This aqueduct was a simple subterranean covered ditch. Roman aqueducts were usually built as open troughs, covered with a top, and then covered with soil. They were made from a variety of materials including masonry, lead, terra cotta, and wood. The Appia was about 50 ft (15 m) underground to make it inaccessible to Roman enemies on the city's outskirts. The Anio Vetus, built in 272 B.C., brought more water to the city, but both the Appia and the Vetus had sewer-like designs. The Aqua Marcia, built in 140 B.C., was made of stone and had lofty arches. The Aqua Tepula of 125 B.C. was made from poured concrete. Later Roman aqueducts were mainly built to meet the needs of the people or the desires of the rulers of the time. The average Roman aqueduct was 10&ndash50 mi (16&ndash80 km) long with a 7&ndash15 sq ft (0.7&ndash1.4 sq m) cross-section. Aqueducts were generally wide enough for a man to enter and clean.

Around the world, communities made advances in irrigation and water management. In the Mexican Tehuacan Valley, evidence of irrigation dates back to The Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct in Nimes, France, dates from the first century A. D. Photograph by John Moss. National Audubon Society Collection/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission. around 700 B.C. in the remains of the Purron Dam. The dam was used to direct water to domestic and crop regions for several hundred years. In the same valley, the Xiquila Aqueduct was built around A.D. 400. Early North American aqueducts include the Potomac aqueduct in Washington, DC. This aqueduct, which was built in 1830, extends over the Potomac River at the Key Bridge, which joins Northern Virginia and the Georgetown area of the city. It was built with support from eight piers and two stone abutments to carry water from the upper Potomac to the city.

Later aqueducts of the United States include the Colorado River Aqueduct that supplies Los Angeles and the Delaware River Aqueduct that carries water into New York. In addition, aqueducts carry water from northern to southern California. The southwestern region of the United States is particularly dry and requires water import. Water can be collected from aquifers (underground water reservoir), rivers, lakes, or man-made reservoirs.

Roman Aqueducts

The great and highly advanced Roman waterway system known as the aqueducts, are among the greatest engineering and architectural achievements in the ancient world. The running water, indoor plumbing and sewer system carrying away disease from the population within the Empire wasn't surpassed in capability until very modern times.

The aqueducts, being the most visible and glorious piece of the ancient water system, stand as a testament to Roman engineering. Some of these ancient structures are still in use today in various capacities.

Roman aqueducts were built from a combination of stone, brick and the special volcanic cement pozzuolana. While their visible remains leave a definite impression, the great bulk of the Roman waterway system ran below ground. Channels bored through rock, or dug below the surface carried water where it was convenient and possible. Of the approximately 260 miles in the aqueduct system, only 30 miles consisted of the visible, mammoth arched structures.

The aqueducts were built only to carry the flow of water in areas where digging, burrowing, or surface grades presented problems, such as valleys. The entire system relied upon various gradients and the use of gravity to maintain a continuous flow and the engineering at the time was remarkable. Without the aqueducts it would've been impossible to maintain the flow of water at the proper grades required.

When water reached Rome it flowed into enormous cisterns (castella) maintained on the highest ground. These large reservoirs held the water supply for the city and were connected to a vast network of lead pipes. Everything from public fountains, baths and private villas could tap into the network, sometimes provided a fee was paid. The water system was as politically motivated as any other massive public works project. Providing additional sources of incoming flow, feeding the baths or simply providing water access to more of the populace could grant great prestige.

Maintenance of the water system was a continuous task, and the Romans assigned a Curator Aquarum to oversee this undertaking. Paid laborers, slaves and the legions all had parts in building parts of the water system. The Curator Aquarum maintained the aqueducts of Rome, while similar curators oversaw those in the provinces. The legions however, when building new colonies or forts, were responsible for providing their own water supply. Just as they were the great road builders of the Empire, they most assuredly took part in the aqueduct construction of outlying areas.

Eleven separate aqueducts supplied the city of Rome and were built over a span of 500 years. The first, the Aqua Appia, was built in conjunction with the great southern road the Via Appia in 312 BC. Aqua Novus stretched the farthest from the city, reaching approximately 59 miles away. At its largest extant, nearly 200 cities within the empire were supplied buy aqueducts, far surpassing the capability of any civilization before or after for nearly another 2 millenia. The last Roman aqueduct built was the Aqua Alexandrina built in 226 AD.

In the waning days of the western empire, invading Germanic tribes cut the supply of water into Rome and only the Aqua Virgo, which ran completely underground, continued to deliver water. During the middle ages, a couple of the lines were restored, but full access to running water wasn't re-established until the Renaissance. At the height of the ancient city's population of approximately 1,000,000 inhabitants, the water system was capable of delivering up to 1 cubic meter of water per person in the city, more than what is commonly available in most cities today.

Watch the video: Aqueducts: Technology and Uses - Ancient Rome Live (July 2022).


  1. Pietro

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  2. Hagop

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  3. Kebar


  4. Bartel

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  7. Meztikus


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