Roman Aqueducts Essay

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Nicholas Thompson January 14, 2013 Roman Aqueducts The Roman aqueducts are a very grand and spectacular thing to see, but what is unknown to many people is that more than half of them actually run underground. There are around 260 miles of aqueducts, of which only around 30 miles are visible. The visible “bridges” were made out of stone, brick, cement, and pozzuolana, volcanic cement. The visible bridges were constructed in the shape of arches to support the weight of the water and to withstand the weathering. The bridges and underground pipes would all run on a gradient and relied on gravity. They would flow into the highest point in a town so that the water could be distributed easily. The first aqueduct built was called the Aqua Claudius; it was started by Caligula and ended by Claudius in A.D. 38. The last one built was the Aqua Alexandria in 226 A.D. They would be funded by the profits of war. Inspection and cleaning of these aqueducts was key to keeping the flowing water clean. There would be inspection chambers on the ground to inspect the pipes. Also, half of the pipe itself wasn’t used to carry water but to collect the buildup of calcium deposits. To oversee all of the maintenance of the aqueducts Rome would elect a Curator Aquorum. The water would flow into giant cisterns in towns called castella. These were reservoirs that held the water for pipes to tap into. The water would then be routed down from the cistern and into many different uses, usually for bath houses or fountains. The overflow water would be able to flow into a sewer system to maintain cleanliness in the cities. The Roman aqueducts were a very grand and amazing piece of architecture that were many years before their time. They provided indoor plumbing and a good clean source of water. Bibliography “Roman Aqueducts” Adkins, Lesley

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