Ancient Roman Aqueducts

Ancient Roman civilization was founded on the western coast of Italian peninsula in the 9th century BC. Initially, Roman civilization was a small agricultural community on the banks of River Tiber. Later, it grew into one of the most powerful empires in the world, straddling up to the Mediterranean Sea. Gradually, ancient Roman civilization transformed itself from a monarchy to Roman republic to an autocratic Roman Empire.

Ancient Roman Aqueducts

A water supply channel constructed to convey water from one place to another is known as an aqueduct. Ancient Roman Empire had an advanced water conveyance system that is considered as one of the ancient achievements of the ancient world. Ancient Roman aqueducts are a testament to Roman engineering and their water system is a glorious achievement because many of the ancient aqueduct structures are still in use today.

The materials such as stone, brick and a cement made from volcanic materials that is known as “pozzuolana” were combined together to construct an aqueduct. A point worth mentioning here is many of the ancient roman aqueduct system ran under the ground. The waterways or channels were dug through rocks. Historical evidences reveal, out of 260 miles of an aqueduct structure only 30 miles were visible outside as arched structures. Roman aqueducts conveyed water in the areas where digging wells presented problems. The ancient aqueducts not only supplied drinking water but also supplied water to numerous private and public baths and fountains in the various cities of the Roman Empire. An aqueduct also had the provision to empty the dirty water into the sewers.

Another fact worth mentioning is an ancient Roman aqueduct relied on various aspects such as gravity to maintain a continuous flow of water. Ancient aqueducts could be seen throughout the Roman Empire. Historians are astounded by the marvel of the ancient Roman engineering and they opine, the size of the city could be predicted by the Roman water system.

Vitruvius, a Roman scholar, has described the methods of construction of various Roman aqueducts in his work De Architectura. This was written in the first century BC and it was used by a Roman general, Frontinus, who was in charge of administering the aqueducts of Rome.